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Full text of "State and Nonstate Associated Gangs: Credible "Midwives of New Social Orders""

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Max G. Manwaring 

May 2009 

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This monograph introduces a misunderstood 
aspect of "wars among the people." The author 
addresses the interesting subject of the multifaceted 
nature and predominant role of gangs operating as 
state and nonstate proxies in the modern unbalanced 
global security environment. In every phase of 
the process of compelling radical political change, 
agitator-gangs and popular militias play significant 
roles in helping their political patrons prepare to take 
control of a targeted political-social entity. As a result, 
gangs (pandas criminales or whatever they may be 
called) are important components of a highly complex 
political-psychological-military act — contemporary ir- 
regular asymmetrical political war. In these terms, this 
monograph is relevant to modern political discussions 
regarding "new" socialism, populism and neo- 
populism, and hegemonic state and nonstate challenges 
to stronger opponents. 

One can take an important step toward un- 
derstanding these aspects of the political wars in our 
midst by examining some selected cases. Accordingly, 
this monograph examines a few premier cases that 
illustrate how populists and neo-populists; the new 
left, new socialists, or 21st century socialists; right- 
wing-criminal nonstate actors; and other nonstate and 
state actors use "agitators," gangs, "super gangs," 
and/ or popular militias for national, regional, or global 
hegemonic purposes. 

More specifically, this monograph examines 
examples of contemporary populism and neo- 
populism, 21st century socialism, and a nonstate actor 
(al-Qaeda) seeking regional and global hegemony. They 
are: first, paramilitary gang permutations in Colombia 
that are contributing significantly to the erosion of the 


Colombian state and its democratic institutions, and 
implementing the anti-system objectives of their elite 
neo-populist sponsors; second, Hugo Chavez's use of 
the New Socialism and popular militias to facilitate 
his populist Bolivarian dream of creating a mega-state 
in Latin America; and, third, al-Qaeda's strategic and 
hegemonic use of political-criminal gangs to coerce 
substantive change in Spanish and other Western 
European foreign and defense policy and governance. 
Lessons derived from these cases demonstrate 
how gangs might fit into a holistic effort to force 
radical political-social-economic change, and illustrate 
how traditional political-military objectives may be 
achieved indirectly, rather than directly. These lessons 
are significant beyond their own domestic political 
context in that they are harbingers of many of the "wars 
among the people" that have emerged out of the Cold 
War, and are taking us kicking and screaming into 
the 21st century. This timely monograph contributes 
significantly to an understanding of the new kinds of 
threats characteristic of a world in which instability 
and irregular conflict are no longer on the margins of 
global politics. For those responsible for making and 
implementing national security policy in the United 
States, the rest of the Western Hemisphere, Western 
Europe, and elsewhere in the world, this analysis is 
compelling. The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased 
to offer this monograph as part of the growing interest 
in global and regional security and stability. 



Strategic Studies Institute 



MAX G. MANWARING is a Professor of Military 
Strategy in the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) of the 
U.S. Army War College (USAWC). He has held the 
General Douglas MacArthur Chair of Research at 
the USAWC, and is a retired U.S. Army colonel. He 
has served in various civilian and military positions, 
including the U.S. Southern Command, the Defense 
Intelligence Agency, Dickinson College, and Memphis 
University. Dr. Manwaring is the author and coauthor 
of several articles, chapters, and books dealing with 
Latin American security affairs, political-military 
affairs, and insurgency and counterinsurgency. His 
most recent book is Insurgency, Terrorism, and Crime: 
Shadowsfrom thePastandPortentfortheFuture, University 
of Oklahoma Press, 2008. His most recent article is 
"Sovereignty under Siege: Gangs and Other Criminal 
Organizations in Central America and Mexico," in 
Air & Space Power Journal (in Spanish), forthcoming. 
His most recent SSI monograph is A Contemporary 
Challenge to State Sovereignty: Gangs and Other Illicit 
Transnational Criminal Organizations in Central America, 
El Salvador, Mexico, Jamaica, and Brazil. Dr. Manwaring 
holds an MA. and a Ph.D. in Political Science from 
the University of Illinois, and is a graduate of the U.S. 
Army War College. 


This monograph introduces a poorly understood 
aspect of "wars among the people." It deals with the 
complex protean character and hegemonic role of gangs 
operating as state and nonstate surrogates in the murky 
shallows of the contemporary asymmetric and irregular 
global security arena. This monograph, however, will 
not address tattooed teenage brigands. Rather, it will 
focus on ordinary-looking men and women who are 
politically and commercially dexterous. 

Like insurgencies and other unconventional 
asymmetric irregular wars, there is no simple or 
universal model upon which to base a response to the 
gang phenomenon (gangs and their various possible 
allies or supporters). Gangs come in different types, 
with different motives, and with different modes of 
action. Examples discussed include Venezuela's in- 
stitutionalized "popular militias," Colombia's devolv- 
ing paramilitary criminal or warrior bands (bandas 
criminates), and al-Qaeda's loosely organized networks 
of propaganda-agitator gangs operating in Spain and 
elsewhere in Western Europe. The motives and actions 
of these diverse groups are further complicated by their 
evershifting alliances with insurgents, transnational 
criminal organizations (TCOs), drug cartels, warlords, 
governments that want to maintain a plausible denial 
of aggressive action, and any other state or nonstate 
actor that might require the services of a mercenary 
gang organization or surrogate. 

Lessons derived from these cases demonstrate how 
gangs might fit into a holistic effort to compel radical 
political-social change, and illustrate how traditional 
political-military objectives maybe achieved indirectly, 
rather than directly. These lessons are significant 

beyond their own domestic political context in that 
they are harbingers of many of the "wars among the 
people" that have emerged out of the Cold War, and are 
taking us kicking and screaming into the 21st century. 





This monograph introduces a poorly understood 
aspect of "wars among the people." 1 It deals with 
the complex, protean character and hegemonic role 
of gangs, agitators, armed propagandists, popular 
militias, youth leagues, warrior bands, and other 
mercenary organizations operating as state and 
nonstate surrogates in the murky shallows of the con- 
temporary asymmetric and irregular global security 
arena. 2 This monograph, however, will not address 
tattooed teenage brigands. Rather, it will focus on 
ordinary-looking men and women who are politically 
and commercially dexterous. 

Like insurgencies and other unconventional 
asymmetric irregular wars, there is no simple or 
universal model upon which to base a response to the 
gang phenomenon. Gangs come in different types, with 
different motives, and with different modes of action. 
Gangs also come with various possible allies and 
supporters. Examples of state and nonstate associated 
gangs include Venezuela's institutionalized "popular 
militias," Colombia's devolving criminal or warrior 
bands (bandas criminates), and al-Qai'da's loosely 
organized networks of propaganda-agitator gangs that 
operate in Spain and other parts of Western Europe. 
The motives and actions of these diverse groups are 
further complicated by their evershifting alliances 
with insurgents, transnational criminal organizations 
(TCOs), drug cartels, warlords, governments that 

want to maintain plausible denial of aggressive illicit 
action, and any other state or nonstate actor that might 
require the services of a mercenary gang organization 
or a surrogate. 3 

The internal and external hegemonic use of gangs 
goes back at least to the 16th century and Machiavelli, 
who said, "Some have made themselves masters of 
[city-states] by holding private correspondence with, 
and corrupting one party of the inhabitants. They 
have used several methods to do this." 4 Machiavelli 
must have thought that everyone clearly understood 
what he was saying, because he did not elaborate. 
As an example, everyone knew that political leaders, 
regardless of title, employed "unofficial henchmen" 
they could put to use in a contingency. It was V. 
I. Lenin in the early 20th century, however, who 
articulated the strategic asymmetric-irregular-political 
vision within which so many contemporary nonstate 
and nation-state actors now operate. 5 Lenin argued 
that anyone wishing to compel an adversary to accede 
to his will, "must create [organize, train, and employ] 
a body of experienced agitators." 6 In that connection, 
anybody and everybody are free to study his ideas, 
adapt his ideas, and implement them for their own 
purposes. 7 Lenin's purpose was straightforward: If 
these instruments of statecraft (agitators; that is, the 
gang phenomenon) succeed in helping to tear apart 
the fabric upon which a targeted society rests, then the 
instability and violence they create can serve as the 
"midwife of a new social order." 8 

In these terms, Lenin's classic strategic vision is 
relevant to modern political discussions regarding 
"new" socialism, populism, and neo-populism, as 
well as hegemonic challenges to stronger opponents. 
Lenin's Democratic-Socialism was the dictatorship 

of the proletariat — only a Leninist Social-Democracy 
can represent the democratic will of a people (the 
proletarian or working class). His methodology was, 
therefore, populist and neo-populist. He was a populist 
in the sense of being anti-liberal democracy. He was 
neo-populist in terms of being anti-bourgeois-capitalist 
political-economic system. 9 He was hegemonic in 
terms of the Leninist dictum that it can only be with the 
"defensive" extinction of all opposition that a new social 
order will come about, as well as true sovereignty. 10 
And only when Leninist surrogates are in place all 
around the world will Social-Democracy be safe and 
peace possible. 11 In any event and in every phase of 
the revolutionary process, agitator-gangs (popular 
militias) play significant roles in helping their political 
patrons prepare to take control of a targeted political- 
social entity. As a result, state and nonstate supported 
and associated gangs are important components of a 
highly complex political-psychological-military act — 
contemporary irregular asymmetric political war. 12 

One can take an important step toward 
understanding the political wars in our midst by 
examining a few selected cases. Accordingly, this 
monograph examines three contemporary variations 
on the Leninist agitator-gang theme. They are, first, 
Hugo Chavez's use of the "New Socialism" to facilitate 
his neo-populist Bolivarian dream of creating a mega- 
state in Latin America that would be liberated from 
U.S. political and economic domination; second, 
gang permutations in Colombia that are contributing 
significantly to the erosion of the Colombian state and 
its democratic institutions and implementing the anti- 
system objectives of their elite neo-populist sponsors; 
and, third, al-Qai'da's sophisticated, strategic, and 
hegemonic use of political-criminal gangs to coerce 

substantive change in Western European foreign policy 
and governance. 

Lessons derived from these cases demonstrate how 
gangs might fit into a holistic state or nonstate actor 
effort to compel radical political-social change and 
illustrate how traditional political-military objectives 
may be achieved indirectly rather than directly. These 
lessons are significant beyond their own domestic 
political context. They are harbingers of many of the 
wars among the people that have emerged from the 
Cold War and are taking us kicking and screaming 
into the 21st century. 13 These cases are also significant 
beyond their uniqueness. The common political 
objective in each case is to coerce radical change in 
targeted political-economic-social systems. 


President Chavez's Program to Fulfill His 
"Bolivarian Dream." 

Since his election as President of Venezuela in 
1998, Hugo Chavez has encouraged and continues to 
encourage his Venezuelan and other Latin American 
followers to pursue a populist and neo-populist/ anti- 
democratic and anti-system/ hegemonic defensive 
agenda that will liberate Latin America from the 
economic dependency and political imperialism of the 
North American "Colossus" (the United States). Chavez 
argues that his program for 21st century socialism (The 
New Socialism) is the only process through which 
the Bolivarian dream of a Latin American liberation 
movement can be achieved. 14 This is not the rhetoric 
of a deranged dreamer. It is, significantly, the rhetoric 
of an individual who is performing the traditional and 

universal Leninist function of providing a strategic 
vision and plan for gaining political power. And now, 
Chavez is providing militant reformers, disillusioned 
revolutionaries, and submerged nomenklaturas all over 
the world with a relatively orthodox Leninist model 
for the conduct and implementation of a regional, 
defensive, and total "war of all the people" (people's 
war). 15 


President Chavez's populist Bolivarian dream is 
based on four enablers. The first is the New Socialism. 
With that concept in place, one can envision building 
a new, neo-populist, anti-system social democracy, 
beginning with Venezuela and extending eventually 
to the whole of Latin America. In turn, that concept 
dictates a new system of power. Chavez calls this 
system "Direct Democracy." Its main tenets dictate 

• The new political authority must be a leader 
who communicates directly with the people; 

• Elections, plebiscites, Congress, and the 
courts will provide formal democracy and 
international legitimacy but will have no real 
role in governance or the economy. Governance 
and the economy are the responsibility of the 

• The state, through the leader, will own or control 
the major means of production and distribution; 

• The national and regional political-economic 
integration function will be performed by the 
leader by means of his financial, material, and 
political-military support to popular militias 
and "people's movements." 16 

The second enabler centers on social programs 
designed to provide tangible benefits to the masses 
of Venezuelans who were generally neglected by 
previous governments, and to strengthen the leader's 
internal power base. 17 

The third enabler focuses on communications with 
the intent of enabling the media (radio, television, 
newspapers, and magazines) to create a mass consen- 
sus. President Chavez has used the media skillfully 
to communicate his ideas, develop positive public 
opinion, and generate electoral successes. In connection 
with the Bolivarian dream, Chavez has directed 
communications to audiences all over Latin America. 
And, not surprisingly, the Chavez government has 
shut down some elements of Venezuela's opposition 
media to ensure the "irreversibility of the process for 
establishing socialism for the 21st century." 18 

The fourth enabler involves the reorganization of 
the security institutions of the country. In addition to 
the traditional armed forces, Chavez has created and 
funded the following independent forces: 

• A National Police Force (Guardia National); 

• A 1.5 million-person military reserve 

• A paramilitary (popular militia) called 
Bolivarian Liberation Front (Frente Bolivariano 
de Liberation)) and, 

• Another paramilitary militia, "Army of the 
People in Arms" (Ejercito del Pueblo en Armas). 

All these institutions are outside the traditional 
control of the regular armed forces, and each 
organization is responsible directly to the leader 
(President Chavez). This institutional separation is 

intended to ensure that no one military or paramilitary 
organization can control another, but the centralization 
of these institutions guarantees the leader absolute 
control of security and social harmony in Venezuela. 19 
What President Chavez has achieved by 
restructuring the Venezuelan government and its 
democratic institutions, improving the physical well- 
being of many poor Venezuelans, and verbalizing these 
successes on television and in the press is the formation 
of a unity of political-psychological-military effort and 
the development of a large, popular, internal, and 
external base of support. Moreover, the reorganization 
of the government and its security apparatus provides 
for presidential control of the political, economic, 
social, informational, and security instruments of state 
power that are intended to "deepen and extend" the 
bases of the regional liberation effort— and to enable 
the implementation of 4th Generation (asymmetric) 
Warfare (4GW). 20 Once all these enablers function 
together, they will destroy traditional Venezuelan and 
Latin American democracy and the old Venezuelan 
and Latin American political-economic system. 21 The 
old democracy and the old system will be replaced by 
a new kind of democracy and a new type of political 
system— socialism for the 21st century. This takes 
us to Chavez's Program for the Liberation of Latin 

The Program for the Liberation of Latin America. 

Applying the strategic principles of a new, realistic, 
theoretical model for action will achieve 21st century 
socialism. The model is based on the integration of 
all the instruments of state power under the direction 
of the leader and is what President Chavez calls 4th 

Generation War, Asymmetric War, or a War of All the 
People. The most salient characteristics of this kind of 
war include the following five notions: 

• The struggle is predominantly political- 
psychological, not military — although there is 
an important military or paramilitary role in the 

• The conflict is lengthy and evolves through 
three, four, or more stages; 

• The war is fought between belligerents with 
asymmetrical capabilities and asymmetrical 
responsibilities to their constituencies — 
giving the leader of a "direct democracy" an 
organizational advantage over the leadership of 
representative democracies; 

• The struggle will have transnational dimensions 
and implications; and, 

• The war will not be limited in purpose. It will be 
total in that it gives the winner absolute power 
to control or replace an existing government. 22 

In this connection, President Chavez is planning 
for a long-term, three-stage, multiphase program for 
gaining power (regional hegemony). Though Chavez's 
three stages use different terminology, they are similar 
to those of Lenin: (1) organization, (2) development and 
use of coercive political and limited military power, 
and (3) the capture of a targeted government. 23 

A minimum of six phases elaborate that paradigm 
and outline the role of the paramilitary popular militias. 
General Gustavo Reyes Rangel Briceno articulated the 
phases, that might well have been written by Lenin, 
when the General accepted the office of Minister 
of Defense for the National Reserve and National 
Mobilization on July 18, 2007: 

Organize to propagate Latin American 
nationalism, train a cadre of professionals 
(propagandists and agitators) for leadership 
duties and political-military combat, and create 
selected environments of chaos; 
Create a Popular (political) Front out of the 
"debourgeoised" middle classes and other like- 
minded individuals, who will work together to 
disestablish opposed societies and defend the 
new social democracy; 

Foment regional conflicts. This would involve 
covert, gradual, and preparatory political- 
psychological-military activities in developing 
and nurturing popular support. As the number 
of recruits grows and the number of activities 
increases, the fomentation of regional conflicts 
would also involve the establishment and 
defense of "liberated zones;" 
Plan overt and direct intimidation activities, 
including popular actions (such as 
demonstrations, strikes, civic violence, personal 
violence, maiming, and murder) against feudal, 
capitalistic, militaristic opponents and against 
yanqui imperialism. The intent is to debilitate 
target states and weaken enemy military 
command and control facilities; 
Increase covert and overt political-psycholog- 
ical-economic-military actions directed at 
developing local popular militias to fight in 
their own zones, provincial or district militias 
to fight in their particular areas, and a larger 
military organization to fight in all parts of the 
targeted country with the cooperation of local 
and district militias; and, 

• Directly, but gradually, confront a demoralized 
enemy military force and bring about its desired 
collapse — or, simply, invade a targeted country 
with the objective of imposing appropriate New 
Socialist governance. 24 

Until the last moment in the last and decisive phase 
of the Latin American liberation process— when the 
targeted government is about to collapse — every action 
is preparatory work and not expected to provoke great 
concern from the enemy or its bourgeois allies. 25 Thus, 
by staying under his opponents' "threshold of concern," 
Chavez expects to "put his enemies to sleep — to later 
wake up dead." 26 It is at the point of enemy collapse 
and the radical imposition of new Socialist governance 
that the people will begin to enjoy the benefits of love, 
happiness, peace, and well-being. 27 

At present, however, Chavez is only in the beginning 
phases of his first preparatory Organizational Stage 
of the Program for the Liberation of Latin America. 
The culmination of stage one is still a long time away. 
Stages two and three must be several years down 
the revolutionary path. At the strategic level, then, 
Chavez appears to be consolidating his base position 
in Venezuela, taking a relatively low revolutionary 
profile, and waiting for a propitious time to begin the 
expansion of the revolution on a supra-national Latin 
American scale. He will likely continue to focus his 
primary attack on the legitimacy of the U.S. economic 
and political domination of the Americas and on 
any other possible rival. And he will likely continue 
to conduct various rhetorical and political-military 
attacks on adversaries; continue to cultivate diverse 
allies in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia; 
and to engage his allies and his popular militias in 


propaganda and agitation "seeding operations" for the 
creation of a receptive political climate throughout the 
Western Hemisphere. 28 


One school of thought in Latin America — expressed 
privately, if not publicly, to a norteamericano (North 
American) — firmly supports Chavez and his supra- 
national Bolivarian dream. Those who oppose Chavez 
are against his "lack of realism," are ambivalent, or 
just do not care. The Chavez supporters are organizing 
and preparing for the future. The opposition waits, 
watches, and debates. 29 

The United States has tended to ignore the larger 
problem of responsible democratic governance and 
concentrate on the war on drugs. If there is another 
North American concern, it would be the problem 
of possible nuclear proliferation and the associated 
Venezuelan-Iranian alliance. Countries such as 
Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua appear to support the 
Bolivarian dream. Others that might be affected by the 
destabilizing consequences of Chavez's neo-populist 
political-psychological-economic efforts throughout 
the Western Hemisphere have not wanted to deal 
with the problem. 30 Apparently, very few individuals 
or governments will acknowledge Chavez's goal as a 
clearly defined, universally recognized threat in the 
Americas until large numbers of uniformed troops 
of one sovereign state directly invade the sovereign 
territory of another. 31 

Key Points and Lessons. 

• Although seemingly over ambitious, Chavez's 
concept of a regional super insurgency con- 


ducted primarily by popular militias appears to 
be in accord with Lenin's approach to the con- 
duct of irregular asymmetrical political war. 
This notion is quietly opening a new era in which 
much of the world is ripe for those who wish 
to coerce political-social change and change 
history, avenge grievances, find security in new 
structures, and/ or protect old ways. 
Asymmetric war may be accomplished by those 
familiar with the indirect approach to conflict, 
using the power of dreams and the importance 
of public opinion, along with a multidimensional 
flexibility that goes well beyond conventional 
forms. The consequent interactions among 
all these factors in asymmetric war make it 
impossible for the military dimension to act as 
the traditionally dominant actor. 
The threat, thus, is not a conventional enemy 
military force or the debilitating instability 
generated by an asymmetric aggressor. Rather, 
at base, the threat is the inability or unwillingness 
of the government in office to take responsible 
and legitimate measures to exercise effective 
sovereignty and to provide security and well- 
being for all of its citizens. That governmental 
failure to protect the people is what gives 
an oppositionist aggressor the opening and 
justification for its existence and action. 
As a corollary, the ultimate threat is either state 
failure, or the violent imposition of a radical 
socio-economic-political restructuring of the 
state and its governance in accordance with the 
values (good, bad, or nonexistent) of the victor. 
Targeted regimes and their international allies 
that fail to understand Chavez and his political- 


psychological intentions and respond only 
with military or police power to his rhetoric, 
his phantom people's militias, and his other 
irregular and asymmetrical methods are not 
likely to be successful in their attempts to 
counter his Bolivarian dream. 

These lessons are all too relevant to the "new" 
political wars of the 21st century. General Sir Rupert 
Smith warns us that, "War as cognitively known to 
most noncombatants, war as a battle in a field between 
men and machinery, war as a massive deciding event 
in a dispute in international affairs; such war no longer 
exists." 32 


Gangs Devolving from the Paramilitary 
Demobilization Program. 

Over the past 40 to 50 years, Colombia's potential, 
its democracy, and its effective sovereignty have 
been slowly deteriorating as the consequences of 
three ongoing, simultaneous, and interrelated wars 
involving three major violent, internal nonstate groups. 
They are the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia 
(FARC), the paramilitary/ vigilante AUC (The United 
Self-Defense Groups of Colombia), and the illegal 
transnational drug industry. This unholy trinity (or 
nexus) of politically motivated and terroristic TCOs 
and nonstate actors is perpetrating a level of human 
horror, violence, criminality, corruption, and internal 
instability that is threatening Colombia's survival as 
an organized democratic nation-state. Additionally, 
neo-populist (anti-system) activities of some of that 


country's elites further complicate the conflict picture. 
These elites have never supported the idea of strong 
national institutions and the development of a viable 
nation-state. The issue is, simply, that the power to 
control terroristic insurgents, paramilitary groups, and 
criminal drug traffickers is also the power to control 
the virtually autonomous elites. 33 

At the same time, a new dynamic is being 
introduced into the ongoing multidimensional conflict 
in Colombia. Several types of illegal nonstate groups 
(gangs) are devolving out of President Alvaro Uribe's 
AUC demobilization and reintegration program. An 
even greater potential threat to security and stability 
coming from the emergence of these new bandas 
criminates (criminal gangs) is thought to be the possible 
formal establishment of a federation of splinter AUC 
groups, existing drug trafficking organizations, 
currently faltering FARC units, and the much smaller 
National Liberation Army (ELN) insurgent group. Such 
a federation could become a more-than-significant 
terrorist-criminal-insurgent nonstate actor in the 
Colombian malaise. 34 

Context: A New Gang Dimension in the Colombian 

A new force inserting itself into the Colombian 
conflict is a large number of bandas criminates that have 
come into being as a result of the formal demobilization 
of the AUC, and the disintegration of some FARC 
units. These gangs are altering the configuration of the 
insurgency and the illegal drug industry, as well as 
complicating the already crowded conflict arena. That 
said, and because of the generally autonomous nature of 
the AUC and its new creations and the lack of certainty 


regarding the FARC, it is hard to understand and 
predict what the gangs may or may not be doing — and 
what they may or may not mean. Despite the general 
lack of certainty regarding the new gangs, however, 
there are a few things that are becoming clearer as the 
bandas criminates become more involved in the general 

First, we know that all the newly devolved gangs 
are more autonomous, less well understood, and more 
unpredictable than their parent organizations. We also 
know that the ad hoc organization of the new gangs 
makes it difficult to know who they are, their numbers, 
why they do what they do, and their linkages with 
other organizations, legal and illegal. Additionally, we 
know that: 

• As of the end of 2008, there are an estimated 100 
or more independent bandas criminates operating 
actively over at least 20 percent of the Colombian 
national territory. Membership estimates range 
from 3,000 to over 10,000. 

• Like their parent, the new AUC (paramilitary) 
gangs tend to be organized horizontally with no 
predetermined structure. The specific structure 
of a given gang is determined by its leadership, 
the tasks it must perform, and the requirements 
of the locale within which it operates. 

• AUC Organizational groups are established 
through a process of franchisement. 

• Parent AUC and FARC organizations generally 
allow subordinate groups considerable latitude 
in the ways and means chosen to accomplish a 
given task. 

• Particularly "dirty" operations are often 
conducted by "hired guns" from among 
aspirants, sympathizers, or unemployed 


"nobodies," rather than regular members of an 
AUC or FARC gang. 

• AUC and FARC bandas criminates conduct four 
basic operations: 

1. Direct and sometimes lead specific military 
operations (e.g., "social cleansing") against 
selected "uncooperative" groups; 

2. Perform the business-as-usual armed 
propaganda functions prescribed by V.I. 
Lenin for propaganda-agitator gangs; 35 

3. Direct and sometimes lead relatively 
sophisticated political and psychological 
actions; and, 

4. Collect, hold, and allocate money, weapons, 
and other resources. 36 

Second, the use of terror, fear, and other "barbaric" 
methods (mutilation kidnapping, murder, rape, 
pillage) is considered to be a force multiplier and a 
rational psychological means of controlling a larger 
population. More specifically, these methods allow a 
small force to accomplish the following: 

• Convince the people of a given area that the 
AUC paramilitaries are the real power in the 

• Exert authority over a population — even a 
population supposedly under the control of a 
government or another nonstate actor; 

• Persuade or coerce public opinion, electoral 
conduct, and leader decision and policymaking; 

• Hold off a much larger force and fight another 
actor at the same time. 37 


Third, the relationship of the new gangs to 
elements of the Colombian government is becoming 
more evident. Evidence of AUC association with the 
government and some of its major institutions — and 
resultant support — can be seen (if not proved in a court 
of law) in two different instances: 

• Ties between paramilitary groups and Colom- 
bian legislators can be seen in more than 40 cur- 
rent and former congressmen being charged 
with one type or another of collaboration 
with the AUC. It has been and continues to be 
asserted that "Congress is awash in AUC cash" 
to ensure that paramilitary influence remains 
strong in the highest levels of government. 38 

• From the time of the AUC's organization, the 
Colombian military has been thought to have 
close, if informal, ties to the paramilitaries, as 
in two recent examples: Army Chief General 
Mario Montoya was implicated in collaboration 
charges initiated by the attorney general, and 
Intelligence Chief Jorge Noguera was dismissed 
as a result of similar charges. Additionally, 
specific documents are now coming to light that 
indicate close ties between the Army and the 
AUC. 39 

Fourth, several types of gangs are devolving from 
the AUC demobilization program. The common beliefs 
regarding motives and ties back to the AUC are that 
they are all involved in some sort of criminal activity, 
and that they are controlled and led by hard-core 
paramilitary leaders who have not demobilized. Two 
groups — The New Generation Organization (ONG) 
and the Black Eagles — operate in several Colombian 
departments (provinces) and provide good examples 


of the new gang phenomenon. A third set of groups, 
associated with the old AUC Northern Bloc, is also 
worth consideration. 

The ONG is an example of a new group that has 
continued acting much as the old AUC did. ONG 
in the southern Department of Narino is fighting 
the insurgents. ONG is also working to control (for 
its own purposes) drug crops, processing facilities, 
and trafficking routes into Ecuador and the Pacific 
Ocean. Additionally, ONG has formed an ad hoc 
alliance with an armed wing of a drug cartel called the 
Rasrojos. Reportedly, the purpose of that alliance is to 
provide protection from other gangs, drug cartels, and 
insurgents operating in the region. 40 

In the north of Colombia — La Guajira, Norte de 
Santander, and Santa Marta, for example — newly 
emerging gangs are involved in lucrative smuggling 
opportunities for commodities such as drugs, weapons, 
and oil. They compete with other illegal groups and 
the Colombian state for access to smuggling routes and 
oil pipelines that lead to key ports on the Caribbean 
Sea. Thus, the Black Eagles and their TCO and other 
gang allies are not operating as the old-style AUC. 
They are not deliberately targeting the FARC and ELN 
insurgents. They are operating in ad hoc alliances with 
various drug, criminal, and insurgent groups. More 
often than not, they tend to fight any other group that 
might be in control of valuable commodities, strategic 
corridors, and seaports. Thus, the Black Eagles appear 
to have inserted themselves forcefully into an existing 
transnational criminal network. In that connection, 
and like some other Latin American gangs, some Black 
Eagle gangs are engaged in extortion and racketeering 
and have been known to rent themselves out as 
mercenary soldiers and sicarios (hired killers). 41 


Elsewhere along the Caribbean coast of Colombia 
and in the slums of some of the major cities, new 
gangs are literally going from house-to-house 
and neighborhood-to-neighborhood conducting 
"social cleansing" operations against FARC and 
ELN insurgents. At the same time, these operations 
contribute to creation of the political space necessary 
to allow the gangs to achieve their commercial (self- 
enrichment) objectives. These new bandas criminates are 
thought to be connected with the old AUC Northern 
Bloc (BN) umbrella organization. That organization was 
composed of a large network of gangs that operated 
independently until their co-option or subordination 
to the AUC prior to 2002. The basic structure of the BN 
is still intact and is reportedly trying to reassert control 
of areas where they formerly operated. 42 

Fifth, it would appear that the new Colombian gangs 
are more than bandas criminates. They are reshaping the 
narco-terrorist-insurgent-criminal world in Colombia, 
and they are exacerbating threats already eroding 
Colombian democracy and the Colombian state. In 
these terms, the new AUC and FARC gangs are doing 
what gangs all over the world do best. As they evolve: 

• They generate more and more socio-economic- 
political instability and violence over wider and 
wider sections of the political map; 

• They coercively neutralize, control, depose, 
or replace existing governmental service and 
security institutions; 

• They create autonomous enclaves that 
are sometimes called criminal free-states, 
sovereignty free-states, para-states, or 
"ungoverned territories;" and, 

• Thus, they change values in a given society to 
those of their criminal or ideological leaders, 


and act as Leninist "midwives" that begin the 
process of radically changing the society and 
the state. 43 

Finally, even though there is evidence that the 
FARC is militarily weaker now than it has been at 
any time in the past 30 years, it has organized an 
active international support network (the Coordinadora 
Continental Bolivariana or CCB) and a secret political 
party structure (the Clandestine Colombian 
Communist Party or PC-3). This is a classic Leninist 
political response to a military setback, and has serious 
implications for the ongoing internal war in Colombia. 
This response portends a move away from the direct 
confrontation of the armed forces through guerrilla war, 
toward the subtle continuation of the revolutionary 
struggle against the state through international and 
internal political-psychological-military coercion. As a 
consequence, the gang phenomenon takes on new roles 
and preeminent importance. It is expected that some 
FARC units will emerge as variations on the existing 
bandas criminates, and that rumors of FARC's demise 
are greatly exaggerated. 44 

Where the Unholy Trinity Leads. 

Today's threats from the unholy trinity at work 
in Colombia and the rest of the Western Hemisphere 
come in many forms and in a matrix of different kinds 
of challenges, varying in scope and scale. If they 
have a single feature in common, however, they are 
systematic, well-calculated attempts to coerce radical 
political change. In that connection, we shall explore 
briefly two of the many consequences the narco-in- 
surgent-paramilitary union has generated. First, the 
erosion of Colombian democracy will be examined; 


then, the erosion of the state will be considered. From 
there, we shall go to the problem of state failure, 
the ultimate threat, and to the internal and external 
responses to that threat. 

The Erosion of Colombian Democracy. In Colombia, 
we observe important paradoxes. Elections are held 
on a regular basis, but leaders, candidates, and elected 
politicians are also regularly assassinated. Literally 
hundreds of governmental officials, considered 
unacceptable by the nexus (unholy trinity), have been 
assassinated following their election. Additionally, 
intimidation, direct threats, and the use of relatively 
minor violence on a person, and his or her family, 
continue to play an important role prior to elections. 
And, as a corollary, it is important to note that although 
the media is free from state censorship, journalists and 
academicians who make their anti-narco-insurgent- 
paramilitary opinions known through the press — or 
too publicly— are systematically assassinated. 45 

Consequently, it is hard to credit Colombian 
elections as democratic or free. Neither competition 
nor participation in elections can be complete in an 
environment where armed and unscrupulous nonstate 
actors compete violently with the government to con- 
trol the government— before and after elections. More- 
over, it is hard to consider Colombia as a democratic 
state as long as elected leaders are subject to control or 
vetoes imposed by vicious nonstate actors. As a conse- 
quence, Ambassador David Jordan argues that Co- 
lombia is an "anocratic" democracy. That is, Colombia 
is a state that has the procedural features of democracy 
but retains the features of an autocracy where the 
ruling elites face no scrutiny or accountability. 46 In any 
event, the intimidating and persuasive actions of the 
narco-insurgent-paramilitary alliance in the electoral 


processes have pernicious effects on Colombian 
democracy and tend to erode the ability of the state to 
carry out its legitimizing functions. 

The Partial Collapse of the State. The Colombian state 
has undergone severe erosion on two general levels. 
First, despite government claims to the contrary, the 
state's presence and authority is questionable over 
large geographical portions of the country. Second, the 
idea of the partial collapse of the state is closely related 
to the nonphysical deterioration of democracy. Jordan 
argues that corruption is key in this regard and is a 
prime mover toward "narco-socialism." 47 

In the first instance, the notion of partial collapse 
of the state refers to the fact that there is an absence 
or only partial presence of state institutions in many 
of the rural areas and poorer urban parts of the 
country. Also, even in those areas that are not under 
the direct control of narco, insurgent, or paramilitary 
organizations, institutions responsible for protecting 
citizens — notably the police and judiciary — have been 
coerced to the point where they find it very difficult and 
dangerous to carry out their basic functions. Indicators 
of this problem can be seen in three sets of facts. First, 
the murder rate in Colombia is among the highest in 
the world. Second, and perhaps most important, the 
proportion of homicides that end with a conviction 
is less than 4 percent. 48 Third, many of Colombia's 
worst criminal warlords and drug traffickers are 
extradited to the United States for trial, conviction, and 
incarceration. 49 These indicators of impunity strongly 
confirm that the state is not adequately exercising its 
social-contractual and constitutional-legal obligations 
to provide individual and collective security within 
the national territory. 


In the second instance, nonphysical erosion of the 
state centers on the widespread, deeply entrenched 
issue of corruption. As one example, in 1993 and 1994, 
the U.S. Government alluded to the fact that former 
President Ernesto Samper had received money from 
narcotics traffickers. Later, in 1996, based on that 
information, the United States withdrew Mr. Samper's 
visa and decertified Colombia for not cooperating in 
combating illegal drug trafficking. Subsequently, the 
Colombian Congress absolved Samper of all drug 
charges by a vote of 111 to 43. 50 In that connection, 
and not surprisingly, another indicator of government 
corruption at the highest levels is found in the Co- 
lombian Congress. The Senate — in a convoluted legal 
parliamentary maneuver— decriminalized the issue of 
"illicit enrichment" by making it a misdemeanor that 
could be prosecuted only after the commission of a 
felony. 51 Clearly, the reality of corruption at any level 
of government favoring the illegal drug industry, the 
paramilitaries, or other criminal elements militates 
against responsible governance and the public well- 
being. And, in these terms, the reality of corruption 
brings into question the reality of Colombian democ- 
racy and the reality of effective state sovereignty. 

In short, the gang challenge to Colombian national 
security, stability, and sovereignty and the attempt to 
neutralize, control, or depose incumbent governmental 
institutions takes us to the strategic level threat. In 
this context, crime, violence, and instability are only 
symptoms of the threat. The ultimate threat is either 
state failure or the violent imposition of a radical 
socio-economic-political restructuring of the state and 
its governance in accordance with criminal values. 
In either case, gangs contribute to the evolutionary 
state failure process by which the state loses the 


capacity and/ or the will to perform its fundamental 
governance, service, and security functions. Over time, 
the weaknesses inherent in its inability to perform the 
business of the state in various parts of the country are 
likely to lead to the eventual erosion of state sovereignty 
(authority) and legitimacy. In the end, the state does 
not control its national territory or the people in it. 52 
In that connection, some close observers of the gang 
phenomenon assert that the coerced change toward 
criminal values in targeted societies is leading to a 
"New Dark Age." 53 

Responses to the Armed Nonstate Threats. 

Colombia, the United States, and other countries 
that might ultimately be affected by the destabilizing 
consequences of the narco-insurgent-paramilitary 
alliance in Colombia have tended to deal with the 
problem in a piecemeal and ad hoc fashion or even 
ignore it. Significantly, in Colombia, this has been 
done over the years within alternating environments 
of cooperation and mutual enmity between the 
civil government and the armed forces. 54 With the 
promulgation of the socio-political-military Plan 
Colombia in 2000, however, and subsequent policies 
such as Democratic Security in 2002, and various plans 
(Libertad Uno) in 2003 and Plan Patriota in 2004-05, 
there is now the basis of a coherent political-military 
project— but still not the kind of holistic "game plan" 
advocated by former U.S. Ambassador to Colombia 
Myles Frechette. 55 

Frechette calls for a holistic, long-term national 
capability-building "game plan" that would include 
taxing the upper elements of society that currently pay 
few or no taxes. 56 Additionally, there are no apparent 


quests for improved governmental legitimacy; no 
serious efforts to implement a viable unity of civil- 
military effort; no coordinated, long-term plan to isolate 
the armed protagonists from their various sources of 
support; and no political commitment to the country or 
to allies to "stay the course of the war." Additionally, 
the intelligence and information wars within the war 
leave much to be desired. 57 

In all, it appears that Colombia is "muddling 
through" and, after nearly 50 years, either continuing 
to adapt to the situation or continuing to hope for the 
problem to go away. 

Key Points and Lessons. 

• Colombia faces not one but a potent combination 
of three different armed threats to its democracy 
and its being. The unholy "Hobbesian trinity" 
of illegal drug traffickers, insurgents, and 
paramilitary gang organizations has created a 
situation in which life is indeed "nasty, brutish, 
and short." 

• Each set of violent nonstate actors that 
constitute the loose trinity has its own 
specific — and different— motivation, but the 
common denominator is the political objective 
of effectively controlling and radically changing 
the Colombian government and state as we 
know them. 

• The narco-insurgent-paramilitary alliance 
utilizes a mix of aggressive, widespread, and 
violent political-psychological, economic- 
commercial, and military-terrorist strategies 
and tactics primarily to control human and 
physical terrain in Colombia and other countries 


where it operates. The generalized result of the 
intimidating and destabilizing activities of this 
alliance of violent nonstate actors is a steadily 
increasing level of criminal manpower, wealth, 
and power that many nation-states of the world 
can only envy. 

At the same time, that unholy trinity represents 
a triple threat to the effective sovereignty of 
the Colombian state and to its hemispheric 
neighbors. It undermines the vital institutional 
pillars of regime legitimacy and stability, 
challenges the central governance of countries 
affected, and actually exercises effective political 
authority (sovereignty) over portions of physical 
and human national terrain. 
Despite some concern regarding the fact that 
FARC insurgent leadership may not live to 
see the fruition of its Leninist-Maoist national 
revolutionary efforts, the current leadership 
appears to be unconcerned with speeding up or 
energizing its deliberate plan of action to seize 
the power of the state. 58 

In that connection, it appears that the major 
protagonists think of time being on their side 
and that their existing informal marriage of 
convenience is evolving satisfactorily into a 
more formal and lucrative criminal federation. 
Accordingly, that criminal federation may 
eventually be able to "buy its way to [power in 
Colombia]." 59 

Alternatively, there is evidence that FARC is 
moving from a theoretically quick military 
approach for taking control of the Colombian 
state to a broader and slower political- 
psychological-military approach. The above 


commercial or political possibilities need not be 
mutually exclusive. In either or both instances, 
the Colombian state is likely to be severely 
• The Colombian and U.S. responses to the narco- 
insurgent-paramilitary nexus have been ad 
hoc, piecemeal, and without a holistic strategic 
civil-military campaign plan. As a consequence, 
Colombia and its U.S. ally have not addressed the 
real war that is taking place in the hemisphere. 
That war continues to fester and grow toward 
the ultimate political objective of radically 
changing the Colombian state. 

The Colombian insurgency and its associated TCO 
and gang phenomena have been evolving for at least 
40 to 50 years. In that time, violence and destruction 
have varied like a sine curve from acute to tolerable. 
However, just because a situation is "tolerable" does 
not mean the problem has gone away or should be 
ignored. Sun Tzu reminds us: "For there has never 
been a protracted war from which a country has 
benefited." 60 


The Organizational Context. 

Al-Qai'da has succeeded in doing what no 
other nonstate actor or terrorist organization has 
previously accomplished. It has succeeded in elevating 
asymmetric, insurgent warfare onto the global arena. 61 


Far from being ingenuous, apolitical, and unique, al- 
Qai'da acts in accordance with a political logic that is 
a continuation of politics by indirect, irregular, and 
violent means. Al-Qai'da and its leadership do not 
pretend to reform an unjust order or redress perceived 
grievances. The intent is to destroy perceived Western 
regional and global enemies and replace them as the 
world hegemonic power. Thus, al-Qai'da's asymmetric 
global challenge is not abstract; it is real. 62 The point 
from which to begin to understand the threat and 
respond effectively to it is the organizational context. 

A popular term being used to describe al-Qai'da's 
organizational structure is "Leaderless Jihad." 63 That 
term accurately characterizes the concept of no formal 
chain of command and further illustrates the fact that 
killing or neutralizing al-Qai'da leadership only causes 
a basic cell to lie dormant for a season, then it renews 
itself automatically. 64 The term, however, is deceptive. 
Leaderless jihad implies that there is no central 
directing authority, no focus of purpose and effort, 
no coordination of movement and action, and no real 
threat. Al-Qai'da, in fact, is anything but leaderless or 
benign. Osama bin Laden organized al-Qai'da very 
carefully to take advantage of human and physical 
terrain and used multiple and modifiable methods to 
compel enemies to serve his purposes, and comply with 
his will. 65 In these terms, al-Qai'da can and does elevate 
nonstate asymmetric insurgent warfare into the global 
security arena and engages in hegemonic actions— just 
as if it were a nation-state attempting to force political 
change in other nation-states. 66 Yet, al-Qai'da does not 
rely on highly structured organization, large numbers 
of military forces, or costly weaponry. 

Al-Qai'da leadership understands that anyone 
wishing to compel an adversary to accede to its will 


must organize and employ a relatively small body of 
propagandists and agitators (cells or gangs). The pur- 
pose is clear. These irregular, asymmetric instruments 
of statecraft are integral parts of the revolutionary 
process, and their purpose is "to expedite the fall of 
the common enemy." 67 That enemy is the globally 
hegemonic "West." This unacknowledged Leninist 
dictum is illustrated in the general application of 
al-Qai'da's global strategy, and, as more specific 
examples, in Western Europe. 68 The use of gangs as 
components of strategy and tactics, however, is not 
unique to al-Qai'da or confined to Europe. 69 There are 
armed nonstate groups all over the world that find 
their perceived notions of the al-Qai'da model for 
asymmetric global challenge to be salient. 70 The key role 
of the al-Qai'da propaganda-agitator gangs operating 
in Western Europe, however, can be understood 
more completely within the context of the general 
organizational structure. 

The Leader and His Organizational Vision. 

Experience and an expanding understanding of 
al-Qai'da in Western Europe indicates that Osama 
bin Laden represents a militant, revolutionary, and 
energetic commitment to a long-term approach to 
return to Islamic governance, social purpose, and 
tradition. He has further identified the primary 
objective of the movement as power. 71 Power is 
absolutely necessary in order to implement the political, 
religious, economic, and social changes explicit and 
implicit in the idea of a return to Islamic governance 
of Muslim peoples and the resurrection of the Islamic 
Caliphate of the year 711 A.D. 72 Power is generated by 
an enlightened, well-educated, well-motivated, and 


disciplined organization that can plan and implement 
an effective program for gaining control of societies 
and states. Power is maintained and enhanced as the 
organization acts as a "virtual state" within a state (the 
nonterritorial Islamic state) and replaces the artificial 
and illegitimate (apostate) governments that impose 
their rule on contemporary Muslim societies. 73 Thus, al- 
Qai'da members — from those in the highest positions 
to new recruits — have had to pledge their lives to the 
achievement of this vision. And, as in the time of the 
empire, they all must pledge their allegiance to the 
leader. 74 

The Base Organization. Osama bin Laden's first 
and continuing concern must center on organization. 
The preparatory activities necessary to achieve his 
long-term vision are classical Leninist and Maoist. He 
created a motivated and enlightened cadre, a political 
party-type infrastructure, a small loosely organized 
guerrilla network, and a support mechanism for the 
entire organization. 75 Organizational vitality, breadth, 
and depth also provide bases for local, regional, and 
global effectiveness. Thus, the base organization, not 
operations, is considered key to al-Qai'da's success. 
Importantly, al-Qai'da means "the base." 

Generally, and at first glance, al-Qai'da appears to be 
structured much like a classical hierarchical movement 
along rigid, close-knit, secretive lines in a pyramid 
structure. A closer examination of that multi-tiered 
structure, however, indicates a substantial corporate 
enterprise designed especially for conducting large and 
small-scale business operations and terrorist activities 
all around the globe. As a result, this organization looks 
much like transnational criminal gang organizations in 
the Americas that can quickly and flexibly respond to 
any kind of changing situation. Thus, it is more helpful 


to look at al-Qai'da's structure arranged in horizontal 
concentric circles, rather than as a traditional vertical 
pyramid. 76 

The Inner Circle of the horizontal al-Qai'da 
organization is composed of a small Council (shura) 
of Elders and a few hundred carefully selected, 
talented members (coordinators) who operate the 
functional structures considered essential to long-term 
effectiveness and durability — regardless of who serves 
as the leader. There are at least six of these functional 
organizations within the base organization: military, 
funding, procurement, manpower and logistics, 
training and personnel services, and communications 
and propaganda. 77 This inner circle provides strategic 
and operational-level guidance and support to its 
horizontal network of compartmentalized cells and 
allied (franchised) associations (groups or networks). 
This structure also allows relatively rapid shifting of 
operational control horizontally rather than through 
a slow vertical chain of command. This organization 
can, then, respond to an unexpected problem or to a 
promising opportunity in a timely manner. 78 

The Second Ring of the concentric organizational 
circle consists of an unknown number of "holy 
warriors" who are veterans of the campaigns against 
the Russians in Afghanistan and subsequent efforts 
in Iraq, the Middle East, and North Africa. They are 
proven and trustworthy (committed) and provide 
leadership and expertise to the worldwide, multi- 
dimensional network. 

Al-Qai'da's Third Ring consists of thousands of 
Islamic militants (aspirants and sympathizers) from 
around the globe. These individuals make up a 
loose alliance of political parties and groups, as well 
as transnational criminal, insurgent, and terrorist 


organizations and cells that can be called on virtually 
any time for aid, sanctuary, and personnel. (A caution- 
ary note should be added here: That is, leaders of many 
Islamic communities have consistently condemned the 
terrorist activities of al-Qai'da, and do not want to be 
associated with it or Osama bin Laden. Thus, al-Qai'da 
is not a universally accepted organization within the 
various Islamic communities around the globe, and 
should not be perceived as representing other Islamic 
political points of view. The Islamic "sympathizers" 
in the Third Ring of the Base Organization are only a 
small portion of the entire Islamic community). 

The Outer Ring of the al-Qai'da organizational 
structure consists of more amorphous groups of 
Muslims and non-Muslims (outsiders) in 90 countries 
around the world. They generally support Osama bin 
Laden' s view of the West as the primary enemy of 
Islam and of humanity. 79 Accordingly, active support 
for al-Qai'da comes from a broad range of social classes, 
professions, and various Muslim and non-Muslim 
groups. A highly respected al-Qai'da expert, Michael 
Scheuer, asserts that the next generation of membership 
will be more diverse and larger, more professional, less 
operationally visible, and more adept at using modern 
communications and military tools. 80 

One example of the quality and talent of the people 
who are working in bin Laden' s contemporary base 
structure is his world-class media organization. This 
apparatus is already very sophisticated, flexible, 
and omnipresent in virtually every country in the 
world. Al-Qai'da's media people produce daily 
combat reports, videos of attacks on enemy targets, 
interviews with various al-Qai'da and other Islamic 
leaders, and a steady flow of news bulletins to feed 
24/7 satellite television networks around the globe. 


Thus, the al-Qai'da media are providing Muslim and 
other communities around the world with its version 
of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan— and elsewhere — 
professionally, reliably, and in real time. 81 If Scheuer is 
right, the next generationcan only be more sophisticated 
and formidable than the present one, and can only 
enhance al-Qai'da's position as a global hegemonic 
power in an environment in which public opinion, 
correct and incorrect perceptions, and deep religious 
and political beliefs dominate the human terrain. 82 
The resultant radicalization of parts of the Islamic and 
anti-Western world — particularly young people — has 
already generated general socio-political problems, as 
well as specific immigration, law-enforcement, foreign 
policy, and national security issues in virtually all of 
Western Europe. 83 

Al-Qai'da's Regional and Global Challenge. 

Al-Qai'da documents and statements envisage 
what Osama bin Laden calls a "defensive Jihad" that 
calls for three different general types of war — military, 
economic, and cultural-moral — divided into four 
stages and with well-defined strategic, operational, 
and tactical-level objectives. 84 The intent is to organize 
indirect and direct violence to sow panic and instability 
in a society; to destabilize, weaken, and/ or depose 
perceived enemies; and to ultimately bring about 
radical political change. This kind of violence "shades 
on occasion into guerrilla warfare and even a substitute 
for war between states." 85 

This concept also allows military, political, and 
other facets of an al-Qai'da insurgency to be conducted 
in tandem. The different types of war and their 
associated stages are sometimes overlapping and may 


be altered. Stages may be added or reduced in scope 
as various milestones are met or not met. Moreover, 
objectives and the types of military and non-military 
ways and means chosen to achieve them, may be 
adjusted as a given situation dictates. Importantly, 
this kind of ambiguous war intentionally blurs the 
distinction between and among crime, terrorism, and 
conventional war — and makes it substantially more 
difficult to counter. Flexibility and deliberate ambiguity 
in organizational planning and implementation of 
the program to achieve power is, then, an important 
consideration when analyzing the al-Qai'da model. 86 

The dominating characteristic of a given war is 
defined as military, economic, or cultural-moral. Within 
the context of "combinations" or "collective activity," 
it is important to understand that there is a difference 
between the "dominant" sphere and the "whole." 
There is a dynamic relationship between a dominant 
type of general war (e.g., military, economic, or moral) 
and the supporting elements that make up the whole. 
As an example, military war is always supported by 
media (information) war and a combination of other 
types of war that might include— but are not limited 
to — psychological war, financial war, trade war, cyber- 
network war, or diplomatic war. 87 

It must also be understood that, at base, the 
intent of every type of Islamic war, with its dynamic 
combinations of multi-dimensional efforts, is to 
support directly one or more of the five main political 
objectives in al-Qai'da's currently stated intermediate 
end state. They are to: 

• Eject the United States from the Middle East; 

• Open the path to destroy the apostate Arab 
regimes in the area, and Israel; 

• Preserve regional energy resources for Islamic 


• Enhance Muslim unity; and, 

• Install Sharia rule throughout the region— one 
geographical place or one part of the human 
terrain at a time. 88 

The intermediate end game, however, must always 
be seen in the light of al-Qai'da's long-term political 
objectives. They are to: 

• Take down all governments that are considered 
apostate or corrupt; 

• Recover all territories that were, at one time 
or another after 711 A.D., Islamic (e.g., Spain 
and Portugal; the south of France and Italy; the 
islands of the Mediterranean, and some Balkan 

• Attain regional and global hegemony; and, 

• Reestablish the Caliphate. 89 

To be sure, there are those in the global Muslim 
community who do not hold these extreme views. 90 But, 
al-Qai'da does hold these views, and to date is one of 
the best organized and most successful revolutionary 
(insurgent) movements in Islam. Currently, al-Qai'da 
is also the only Islamic Revolutionary Movement that 
is globally oriented; that is, not limited in scope and 

The Roles, Activities, and Some Results 

of Propaganda and Agitation in the al-Qai'da 


At first glance, al-Qai'da's asymmetric global 
challenge might appear to be ad hoc, piecemeal, 
and without reason. Thus, a closer look at al-Qai'da 
operations in Spain and some of the rest of Western 


Europe is instructive. After reviewing the basic facts 
of the brutal terrorist bombing of the Atocha train 
station in Madrid in March 2004, one can see that this 
seemingly random and senseless criminal act had 
specific objectives. Thus, one can also see the subtle 
implementation of al-Qai'da's intermediate and long- 
term political-psychological-hegemonic objectives. 

An Example of Gang Agitation: The Madrid Bombing, 
March 2004. 

Before and shortly after March 11, 2004, al-Qai'da's 
asymmetric global challenge appeared to many to be 
ad hoc and senseless. Nevertheless, a closer look at 
the ruthless terroristic violence in Spain in March 2004 
reveals some interesting and important lessons. After 
reviewing the basic facts of the bombing of the Atocha 
train station in Madrid, one can see that this seemingly 
random terrorist act had specific purposes. At the same 
time, one can observe more precisely the roles of small 
agitator-gangs within the conceptual framework of the 
First, Second, and Third Stages of al-Qai'da's Islamic 
War. Then, one can see the results of these actions in 
terms of al-Qai'da's intermediate strategic objectives. 

On March 11, 2004, 10 rucksacks packed with explo- 
sives were detonated in four commuter trains at the 
Madrid's Atocha train station. That terrorist act killed 
191 innocent and unsuspecting people and seriously 
injured over 1,800 more. The act was considered to 
be the most violent in Western Europe since the 1988 
bombing of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, 
Scotland, that killed 270 people. Despite its length, the 
1,470-page official summary of the investigation of the 
Madrid bombings provided very little information. 
It indicated that 29 men were involved in that attack. 
Those 29 individuals included 15 Moroccans, nine 


Spaniards, one Syrian with Spanish citizenship, one 
Syrian, one Algerian, one Egyptian, and one Lebanese. 
The summary also indicated that some of the 
individuals were members of a radical political group 
active in North Africa and that al-Qai'da exercised 
only an inspirational influence. Moreover, the official 
summary indicated that these terrorists might not have 
learned their bomb-making skills from al-Qai'da, but 
from the Internet. 91 

Subsequent British and other investigations 
of terrorist attacks in Western Europe provided 
considerable additional information regarding 
the March 2004 bombings in Madrid, and the 29- 
man organization that was responsible for that act. 
Those investigations indicated more than a casual 
relationship with al-Qai'da. Four of the bombers were 
al-Qai'da "veterans" from the second ring of the base 
organization who provided leadership and expertise 
for the operation. Most of the nonveterans involved 
in the planning and implementation of the attack 
were operating as part of the Third Ring of the Base 
Organization and were involved in criminal gang 
activities such as drugs-for-weapons exchanges, false 
documentation (passports, other personalidentification, 
and credit card fraud), and jewel and precious metals 
theft. Additionally, the nonveteran members of the 
gang were involved in disseminating propaganda and 
recruiting Spanish Muslim fighters to join Iraqi and 
other al-Qai' da-sponsored insurgencies. The intent 
of these day-to-day activities was to help support and 
fund regional and global al-Qai'da Jihadi operations. 92 
In this instance, the normal criminal activities of the 25- 
man nonveteran member group were interrupted by 
the addition of four veterans in order to enable them 
to take-on the mission of bombing the Madrid train 


station. 93 This kind of information leads to conclusions 
to the effect that: 

• The small cellular organization that actually 
planned and executed the Madrid bombings 
was acting in support of al-Qai'da's Second and 
Third Stages of contemporary Islamic war; 

• The committed al-Qai'da "veterans" who 
provided leadership and expertise for the 
operation came out of the second-level (ring) of 
the base organization; 

• Prior to the planning and implementation of 
the bombing, the 25 nonveteran members of the 
bombing group had been acting very much like 
criminal gangs operating anywhere — up to a 
point; 94 

• It was not until the bombing of the Atocha station 
in Madrid that this particular gang transitioned 
from an implicit political agenda (i.e., recruiting 
personnel and criminally generating financial 
support for al-Qai'da's political-military 
operations in the Middle East, North Africa, and 
elsewhere) to an explicit political challenge to 
the Spanish state and the global community. It 
was at that point, then, that these "delinquents" 
became "militants"; 

• The purpose of the action was not to achieve 
any military objective, and it was not a random 
act. Rather, the bombing was deliberately 
intended to generate strategic-level political- 
psychological results; nevertheless, 

• The militancy continued to be treated as a social 
and law enforcement issue. 95 


Another Strategic Disclosure: The Establishment 
of Small al-Qai'da Support Centers in Western 

The long, but almost irrelevant, official legal 
Spanish summary of the bloody Madrid bombing left 
more than a few people wondering why and how: 
"A massacre of that size could be carried out by just 
a few delinquents?" 96 The answers to those questions 
did not begin to become clear until after similar attacks 
in London, England, over a year later, in July 2005. 
The British and, later, other similar investigations of 
terrorist attacks in Western Europe provided several 
frustrating and sobering findings. 

Among those findings, it was discovered that there 
are several active al-Qai'da cells operating throughout 
Europe. 97 The intent is to establish support centers from 
which to conduct Second and Third Stage Islamic War. 98 
At the same time, it is obvious — and Britain is a good 
example — that these support organizations are now 
composed of radicalized second and third generation 
("home-grown") Islamic cadres who have been trained 
and given experience in al-Qai' da-associated facilities 
and conflict ranging from North Africa, through Iraq, 
and to South East Asia (Afghanistan and Pakistan). The 
result is a rapidly expanding "home-grown" terrorist 
threat. 99 

After the March 2004 bombings in Madrid, Spanish 
police began finding large numbers of Islamic militants 
in the major cities of the country. In that connection, 
police began to verify the latent Spanish fear that their 
country — called Al-Andalus by Moslems — is a priority 
al-Qai'da target. That is, there is a strongly perceived 
notion to the effect that there is an Islamic obsession 


to reincorporate the richest part of the old Caliphate 
into Dar al-Islam (the land of Islam). In support of that 
Spanish fear, al-Qai'da argues that the Spanish and 
Portuguese reconquest (711-1492 A.D.) of Al-Andalus 
(Spain and Portugal) marked the initiation of Western 
European colonialism against Islam. 100 Additionally, 
recent statements by an al-Qai'da leader, Abdel Makik 
Droukedel also known as Abu Musab Abdel Wudud, 
in a "Message to our nation in the Islamic Maghreb," 
(to include Spain) further validate that Spanish threat 
perception. 101 

It appears that the main activities of the Islamic 
"militants" (no longer, "delinquents") in Spain center 
on: recruiting fighters to join the Iraqi, Afghani, and 
other al-Qai'da insurgencies, expanding the capability 
to support operational missions, and influencing 
governance within the various Islamic communities. 
These militants are also found to be engaged in other 
supporting operations for the global Jihad, in terms 
of money, equipment, drugs, and arms. Police also 
claim to have foiled a number of operational missions 
(attacks) that are allegedly directed at internal Spanish 

Importantly, the large majority of the Islamic 
militants apprehended in Spain since 2004 are North 
African immigrants — of which over 500,000 are 
Moroccan. As a consequence, the support cell mission 
of radicalizing Muslims living in Spain appears to 
constitute an enormous political-social challenge for 
now and the future. 102 Yet, the Spanish government 
appears to concentrate its national security efforts on the 
Basque and Catalan separatist movements. 103 To date, 
the only effort aimed at legal and illegal immigrants 
is a government plan to provide up to two year's 
worth (about 18,000 euros) of up-front unemployment 


benefits in return for giving up Spanish work and 
residence papers, and returning to their countries of 
origin. 104 

In the United Kingdom (UK) — as well as France 
and Italy— we see similar patterns to those in Spain. 
Moving to another aspect of the situation, then, it 
has been discovered that al-Qai'da terrorist activity 
is escalating. In a rare public statement, the Director- 
General of the British security service known as MI5, 
has made it clear that " [t]here is a steady increase in the 
terrorist threat to the UK . . .;" that "al-Qai' da-related 
terrorism is real, here, deadly, and enduring . . . ;" that 
"[s]ome 200 groupings or networks, totaling more that 
1,600 identified individuals are actively engaged in 
plotting and facilitating terrorist acts here or overseas 
. . . ;" and, again, that "[plots in the UK] often have 
links back to al-Qai'da in Pakistan . . ." 105 As a result, 
the United Kingdom, as of mid-2008, is the only 
country in Western Europe that is beginning to think 
and act in terms of al-Qai'da and its radicalization of 
British Muslim youth being a serious national security 
problem. 106 

Some key points and lessons to emphasize regarding 
al-Qai'da's establishment of small support centers in 
Spain and other countries in Western Europe are: 

• Al-Qai'da's primary concern in pursuing its 
strategic objectives centers on small, loosely 
organized, hard-to-eradicate networks; 

• The intent is to generate reliable infrastructure 
and franchise organizations that can begin to 
attack symbols of power and open new fronts 
(stages or war) virtually anywhere in the world. 
This deliberate and slow process is intended 
to facilitate the creation and expansion of the 
desired Caliphate by one piece of human and/ 
or physical terrain at a time; 


• Spain is perceived by many Spaniards to be a 
priority target for enhanced second and third 
stage Islamic War; yet, except in the UK; 

• Al-Qai'da activities tend to be treated as social 
and law enforcement problems. 107 

What the Propaganda- Agitation Effort Has 

Since March 2004, al-Qai'da has demonstrated 
that it can skillfully apply irregular asymmetric war 
techniques to modern politic al war, and has done s o with 
impunity. In that connection, al-Qai'da demonstrated 
that its terroristic actions were executed in a way that 
made virtually any kind of Spanish, Western, or U.S. 
military response impossible. After over 3 years of 
investigation and the trial, the Spanish court acquitted 
seven of the 29 men accused of the 2004 Madrid train 
bombings and found 21 individuals guilty. (Note: 
One of the accused had been previously convicted on 
charges of illegal transport of explosives. Also note 
that four of the 29 accused committed suicide 3 days 
after the bombing.) Two Moroccans and a Spaniard 
were sentenced to 42,924 years in prison. Nobody else 
in the gang was sentenced to more than 23 years in 
prison. And, importantly, the men accused of planning 
and carrying out the attack were not convicted for the 
train bombing. They were found guilty of belonging 
to a terrorist group, or for illegally transporting 
explosives. 108 

The Madrid attack also sent several messages to the 
Spanish people, the rest of Europe, the United States, 
and Muslim communities around the globe. The 
various messages went something like this: 


• It is going to be very costly to continue to 
support the United States in its Global War on 
Terror (GWOT) and in Iraq; 

• Countries not cooperating fully with al-Qai'da 
might expect to be future targets; 

• Understand what can be done with a minimum 
of manpower and expense; 

• Al-Qai'da demonstrated that the Madrid, 
London, and other subsequent bombings 
were deliberately executed in a way that made 
virtually any kind of Western or U.S. military 
response impossible; and, 

• Al-Qai'da stood up against the United States 
and its allies — and succeeded. 109 

As a result, the publicity disseminated throughout 
the Muslim world has been credited with generating 
new sources of funding, new places for training and 
sanctuary, new recruits to the al-Qai'da ranks, and 
additional legitimacy. 110 

Additional Strategic-Level Results of the Madrid 

Even though the information gathered throughout 
Western Europe from the investigations and trials 
connected with the Madrid bombing was treated 
cautiously and without alarm, the results achieved 
by the small 29-man cadre (gang) were dramatic and 
significant. The sheer magnitude and shock of the attack 
changed Spanish public opinion and the outcome of 
the parliamentary elections that were held just 3 days 
later. In those elections, the relatively conservative, pro- 
United States government of Prime Minister Jose Maria 
Aznar was surprisingly and decisively defeated. That 


defeat came at the hands of the anti-U.S./ anti-Iraq War 
leader of the socialists, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. 
Prior to those elections, the Spanish government had 
been a strong supporter of the United States, U.S. policy 
regarding the GWOT, and the Iraq War. Shortly after 
the elections, Spain's 1,300 troops were withdrawn 
from Iraq, and Spain ceased to be a strong U.S. ally 
within the global political and security arenas. 111 

These political-psychological consequences 
advance the intermediate and long-term objectives 
of political war that bin Laden and al-Qai'da have set 
forth. The most relevant of those objectives, in this 
context, are intended to erode popular support for the 
War on Terror among the populations of American 
allies, and gradually isolate the United States from its 
allies. 112 And, all that was accomplished by a small 29- 
man agitator-gang with little impunity, and at a cost of 
only $80,000. 113 


Al-Qai'da propaganda, the bombing of Madrid's 
Atocha train station in 2004, and the establishment of 
support centers in Western Europe have significantly 
opened the path to: 

• Weaken the United States in the Middle East 
and Western Europe; and in turn, 

• Weaken the position of the apostate Arab 
regimes in the area, and Israel; 

• Enhance radical Muslim morale and unity 
throughout the world; and, 

• Demonstrate al-Qai'da's capability to conduct 
Second and Third Stage (the Long War) conflict 
in Western Europe. 


Where Al-Qai'da Operations Lead: The Long War. 

Osama bin Laden and al-Qai'da have abruptly and 
violently contradicted the traditional ideas that war 
is the purview of the nation-state, and that nonstate 
and irregular actors ways and means of conducting 
contemporary war are simply aberrations. 114 Al-Qai'da 
also demonstrated that limited conventional motives 
for conducting war can be dramatically expanded 
to strive to achieve the Clausewitzian admonition to 
"dare to win all" — the complete political overthrow 
of a government or another symbol of power — 
"[instead of merely] using superior strength to filch 
some province." 115 Thus, al-Qai'da represents a 
militant, revolutionary, and energetic commitment to 
a long-term approach to the renewal of an extremist 
interpretation of Islamic governance, social purpose, 
and tradition. That is, the renewal of the 8th century 
Caliphate. 116 That, in turn, is a substantive challenge to 
Spanish and other States' sovereignty. 

Al-Qai'da's Challenge to State Sovereignty. 

Those disciples of Osama bin Laden who dream 
of a return to the glories of the 8th-15th centuries 
understand that such a dream cannot be fulfilled 
overnight. And these dreamers know that this kind 
of ultimate political objective cannot be achieved by 
blitzkrieg or "shock-and-awe" tactics that can deliver 
a final victory in a few weeks. They realize that the 
objective of a new Islamic society and Caliphate will 
only be achieved as a result of a deliberate and lengthy 
struggle that generates the destabilization and slow 
destruction of targeted states. This confrontation 
includes no compromise or other options. This is a 


conflict with an absolute and unalterable objective, in 
which there is nothing to negotiate or compromise on. 
This unlimited objective, then, requires a long and total 

war. 117 

The "Long War," however, is more than a lengthy 
war. It begins with a challenge to Western political 
and military leaders to adapt to some new realities of 
contemporary conflict. It ends with another challenge 
to Western leaders to contemplate the notion of 
interim "virtual states" within traditional sovereign 
nation-states (nonterritorial Islamic communities) and 
a type of war that includes no place for compromise or 
other options short of the achievement of the ultimate 
political objective — the renewal of the Caliphate. As 
a consequence, the Long War is total war in terms of 
scope and geography, as well as time. 118 

Osama bin Laden does not appear to be particularly 
interested in taking de facto control of any given state. 
And, he is not sending conventional military forces 
across national borders. He is interested, however, 
in influencing governments to allow his organization 
maximum freedom of movement and action within 
and between national territories. He is also interested 
in influencing and controlling the Muslim "human 
terrain" now living within various national territories 
in Spain, other parts of Western Europe, and elsewhere. 
Rather than trying to control or depose a government in 
a major stroke (coup or golpe) or a Maoist revolutionary 
war, as some insurgents have done, al-Qai'da and its 
various networks intend to slowly and imperceptibly 
take control of specific pieces of human terrain within 
the geographical-political territory of targeted states. 
This is accomplished one individual, one street, one 
neighborhood, or one Mosque at a time. 

Thus, whether al-Qai'da's pursuit of freedom of 
movement and action is specifically criminal, terrorist, 


ideological, or religious is irrelevant. The putative 
objective is to neutralize, influence, and control people 
and communities to begin the long-term process to 
renew the Caliphate. This final objective defines the 
insurgency, a serious political agenda and a messianic 
determination to radically change entire political- 
economic-social systems and their values. 119 

Key Points and Lessons. 

In light of the new world security environment that 
has been initiated by al-Qai'da, there is ample reason 
for worldwide concern. The results of that effort stress 
the following: 

• Al-Qai'da has succeeded in doing what no 
other nonstate or terrorist organization has 
previously accomplished. It has demonstrated 
that a nonstate actor can effectively challenge 
a traditional nation-state, and the symbols of 
power in the global system, without conventional 
organization, weaponry, and manpower. 

• Experience, and an expanding understanding of 
al-Qai'da activities in Western Europe, indicates 
that Osama bin Laden represents a militant, 
revolutionary, and energetic commitment 
to a long-term approach to return to Islamic 
governance, social purpose, and tradition. 

• The premise is that ultimate success in renewing 
the 8th century Caliphate can be achieved as a 
result of the careful application of a complex 
multidimensional paradigm that begins with 
political-psychological war innovations, 
combined with the ruthless application of 


That paradigm is enhanced by the addition of 
informational (media), economic, cultural, and 
other components of power that give relative 
advantage to al-Qai'da over an opponent that 
uses a unidimensional military-police approach 
to address the long-term conflict. 
These various dimensions of contemporary 
conflict are further combined with military 
and nonmilitary, lethal and nonlethal, and 
direct and indirect methods of attacking an 
enemy. Together, these combinations generate 
a powerful irregular asymmetric substitute for 
conventional war. 

Osama bin Laden's first and continuing concern, 
however, centers on organization. The activities 
necessary to achieve his ultimate political 
vision include the creation of a motivated 
and enlightened cadre, a loosely organized 
propaganda-agitator (guerrilla) network, and 
small multiform support mechanisms for the 
entire organization. The intent is to gradually 
widen the global battlefield to the point where 
al-Qai'da becomes less relevant, and the Islamic 
Caliphate begins to take control of the long-term 
struggle (the Long War). 

The Long War, however, is more than a lengthy 
war. It begins with a challenge to Western 
political and military leaders to adapt to new 
realities (e.g., a new concept of enemy and 
new centers of gravity), and ends with another 
challenge to Western leaders to contemplate 
the notion of interim "virtual states" (i.e., 
nonterritorial Islamic communities) located 
within traditional sovereign nation-states. 


• Al-Qai'da's assault on state sovereignty 
represents a triple threat — 

— to isolate Islamic communities from the rest of 
a host-nation's society, and begin to replace 
traditional state authority with Sharia law; 

— to transform Islamic communities into 
"virtual states" within the host state, without 
a centralized bureaucracy and no official 
armed forces for a host nation to confront; 

— to conduct high effect, low-cost actions 
calculated to maximize damage that will, over 
time, lead to the final erosion of an enemy 
state's political-economic-social system. 

The global struggle for power, influence, and 
resources continues into the 21st century with different 
actors, different names, and different rhetoric. Thus, 
Lenin's strategic vision for the achievement of political 
power and radical political-economic-social change is 
no longer the property of strict Leninists. Everybody— 
anti-democratic populist, anti-system populist, anti- 
globalist, "New" Socialist and the revolutionary left, 
and radical Islamist, alike — is free to study it, adapt it, 
and use it for his own purposes. Osama bin Laden and 
al-Qai'da is a case in point. As uncomfortable as this 
conclusion might be, however, Lenin also reminds us 
that there is a viable solution to the problem. That is, 
"We [all who want to retain the freedoms we enjoy] 
should have but one slogan— seriously learn the art of 
war. 1AJ 



The Venezuelan, Colombian, and al-Qai'da in 
Western Europe cases represent a diverse array of 
contemporary conflict situations. The differences in 
these irregular and asymmetric wars are illustrated by 
a range of objectives, motives, and modes of operations. 
As examples, the Venezuelan case demonstrates a 
neo-populist and New Socialist set of motives and 
objectives. The present Colombian situation describes 
more narco-criminal self-enrichment than left or 
right-wing ideological objectives. And al-Qai'da in 
Western Europe emphasizes regional hegemonic 
political motives and objectives. At the same time, the 
Venezuelan case illustrates the use of institutionalized 
popular militias as a tool of contemporary statecraft. In 
Colombia, nonideological criminal and Left and Right- 
wing persuasion and coercion is being conducted by 
relatively large criminal or warrior groups (pandas 
criminales). And, in Spain and other parts of Western 
Europe, al-Qai'da is relying on small loosely organized 
networks of propaganda-agitator gangs to initiate the 
achievement of its political aims. 

These cases demonstrate that the gang phenomenon 
(popular militias, gangs/cells, and bandas criminales) 
and its state and nonstate patrons are not directly 
challenging incumbent governments for control of 
targeted states. By responding to this kind of challenge 
to security, stability, and sovereignty in traditional 
ways, including accepting corrupt practices and/ or 
pretending the problems will go away, most political 
leaders are playing into the hands of the phenomenon 
and the powers that support it. They do not appreciate 
the nature and extent of the violent challenge to 
political order and the values of democratic governance 


being raised by state or hegemonic power-supported 
militias (Venezuela), criminal bands (Colombia), and 
small propaganda-agitator gangs (al-Qai'da). Yet, 
what makes these cases significant beyond their own 
domestic political context is that they are the results 
and harbingers of much of the ongoing purposeful 
political chaos of the 21st century. 

These cases are also significant beyond their 
differences in that the common denominator political 
objective in each supposedly unique case is virtually 
the same. The common theme that runs through each 
of the diverse cases outlined above is that any indirect 
or direct attempt to violently control, depose, or replace 
a targeted government must eventually lead to: 

The erosion of democratic governance; 

The erosion of state institutions, and to the 

processes leading to state failure; 

The establishment of military or civilian 


The establishment of tribal states, criminal 

anarchy, or warlordism; 

The creation of "new" socialist, populist, or 

criminal states; or 

The absorption, division, or reconfiguration of 

existing states into entirely different states. 
As a corollary, this cautionary tale and Colonel 
T.X. Hammes, USMC (Ret.) remind us that the United 
States still does not have a unified strategy and 
organizational structure to deal effectively with the 
debilitating type of wars examined above — that is, 
4GW irregular asymmetric war. 121 The strategic level 
requirement, thus, involves two different levels of 
analysis — cognitive and organizational: 


• The need for civilian and military leaders at 
all levels to better understand the nature of 
contemporary conflict, and to implement a 
realistic and multidimensional ends, ways, and 
means strategy to deal with it; and, 

• The need for an organizational structure to 
ensure high levels of individual, national- 
institutional, and trans-national unity of effort. 

Ambassadors Stephen Krasner and Carlos Pascual 
have argued that in today's increasingly interconnected 
world, the chaos inherent in weak and failed states 
poses an acute risk to U.S. and global security. When 
chaos prevails, terrorism, narcotics trade, weapons 
proliferation, and other forms of organized crime can 
flourish. "Left in dire straits, subject to depredation, 
and denied access to basic services, people become 
susceptible to the exhortations of demagogues and 
hate-mongers." 122 The international community and 
the United States are not, however, prepared to deal 
with governance failure. The United States and the rest 
of the world need to develop the tools to both prevent 
conflict and manage its aftermath when it does occur. 
Krasner and Pascual further argue that, "To promote 
sustainable peace, Washington and its partners must 
commit to making long-term investments of money, 
energy, and expertise." 123 

As a consequence, in the spring of 2004, the George 
W. Bush administration created a new office within 
the State Department: the Office of the Coordinator for 
Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS). The intent 
was to create an organization that could help lead and 
coordinate joint operations across U.S. governmental 
agencies to respond to evolving crises around the 
world, in concert with the international community. 124 
This was a step in the right direction and a worthy 


attempt to develop a new set of tools for conflict 
prevention and conflict response. These tools ranged 
from establishing a capability to plan for stabilization 
and reconstruction, to organizing resources from 
various U.S. governmental agencies so they might 
be mobilized quickly in response to a given crisis 
situation. 125 The results of these efforts, however, have 
been disappointing. 

The basis of the problem is that no single U.S. 
Government agency (the Department of State) and that 
no number of partial measures can be of much help in 
dealing with contemporary irregular conflict until: 

• Fundamental strategic -level changes in the 
amorphous U.S. interagency organizational 
architecture are implemented to ensure 
an effective "whole-of-government" and 
transnational unity of effort; 

• Strategic leaders throughout the entire 
interagency community understand and can 
deal with ambiguous unconventional irregular 
conflict in a comprehensive, coordinated, and 
cooperative manner; and, 

• The entire civil-military interagency community 
can come together to provide the United 
States with a unified capability to utilize the 
instruments of soft and hard power that are 
effective in the contemporary global security 
arena; and, that can be integrated with coalition/ 
partner governments and armed forces, 
nongovernmental agencies, and international 

Such unity of effort recommendations may be 
found, for example, in the Phase 1, 2, and 3 Reports 
of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS). 


These comprehensive reports are entitled "Beyond 
Goldwater-Nichols: Defense Reform for a New Strategic 
Era," "Beyond Goldwater-Nichols: U.S. Government 
and Defense Reform for a New Strategic Era," and 
"The Future of the National Guard and Reserves." 126 
Additionally and importantly, James R. Locher III 
and his associates at the Project on National Security 
Reform (PNSR) are making recommendations similar 
to those passed by the U.S. Congress in the Goldwater- 
Nichols Department of Defense (DoD) Reorganization 
Act. These recommendations focus on the bases 
from which the U.S. interagency community might 
develop a more effective organizational capability to 
work synergistic ally over the long term in complex, 
irregular, and politically ambiguous contemporary 
conflict situations. 127 

In addition to dealing with the political and 
organizational difficulties at the interagency level, 
it is imperative to develop leaders who can generate 
strategic clarity and make it work. Like other members 
of the interagency community who act as individual 
instruments of U.S. national power, the expanding 
roles and missions of the armed forces will require 
new doctrine, organization, equipment, training, and 
education to confront the challenges of contemporary 
conflict. In this connection, the U.S. armed forces, along 
with their civilian counterparts, must also respond to 
responsible recommendations that go well beyond 
present-day conventional warfare. 

Such recommendations, as one example, that 
pertain directly to the U.S. Army may be found in 
"TF (Task Force) Irregular Challenges CSA (Chief of 
Staff of the U.S. Army) Outbrief," and "TF Irregular 
Challenge DAS Decision Brief on Interagency Cadre 
Initiative," presented by the Strategic Studies Institute 
of the U.S. Army War College in 2005 and 2006. The 


recommendations in these documents center on the 
cultural mind set adjustments required to transition 
from the kinetic fight to nonkinetic conflict. 128 In that 
connection, there are at least four doctrinal, educational, 
and cultural imperatives the U.S. armed forces must 
consider and act upon: 

• The study of the fundamental nature of conflict 
has always been the philosophical cornerstone 
for understanding conventional conflict. It is no 
less relevant to asymmetric irregular conflict. 
Thus, it is recommended that the U.S. Army take 
the lead in promulgating 21st century concepts 
that can help leaders deal with the uncertainty, 
complexity, ambiguity, and chaos they will face 
as an inherent part of modern human conflict. 

• Civilian and military leaders at all levels 
must understand the strategic and political- 
psychological implications of operational and 
tactical actions in contemporary conflicts that 
involve entire societies. In these terms, it is 
recommended that leaders be taught how force 
can be employed to achieve political ends, and 
the ways that political considerations affect the 
use of force. 

• At the same time, strategic leaders at all levels 
must be educated to understand the challenges 
of "ambiguity" so that they may be better 
prepared to deal with them. 

• It is also recommended that the U.S. Army take 
the lead in revitalizing and expanding efforts 
that enhance interagency as well as international 
cultural awareness — such as civilian and 
military exchange programs, language training 
programs, cultural orientation programs, and 
combined (multinational) civilian and military 

exercises. 129 


These cognitive and organizational recommen- 
dations are nothing radical. They are only the logical 
extensions of basic security strategy and national and 
international asset management. To quote Krasner and 
Pascual again, "The broader payoff is security. . . . That 
can only be in everyone's best interest." 130 


1. General Rupert Smith, The Utility of Force: The Art of War in 
the Modern World, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. 

2. Kimbra L. Fishel, "Challenging the Hegemon: Al-Qai'da's 
Elevation of Asymmetric Insurgent Warfare onto the Global 
Arena," in Robert J. Bunker, ed., Networks, Terrorism and Global 
Insurgency, London, UK: Routledge, 2005, pp. 115-128. 

3. Max G. Manwaring, A Contemporary Challenge to State 
Sovereignty: Gangs and Other Illicit Trans-National Criminal 
Organizations in Central America, El Salvador, Mexico, Jamaica, and 
Brazil, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War 
College, 2007. 

4. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Art of War, New York: DeCapo 
Press, [1521] 1965, p. 196. 

5. See, as examples, V. I. Lenin, "What Is To Be Done?" [1902]; 
"Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution," 
[1907]; and "Socialism and War," [1915] in Robert C. Tucker, ed., 
The Lenin Anthology, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 
1975, pp. 12-19, 112-114, 134-141, 194-195, respectively. 

6. Lenin, "The Tasks of Russian Social-Democrats," Anthology, 
p. 5. 

7. See, as examples, J. Boyer Bell, Dragonwars, New Brunswick, 
NJ:TransitionPublishers, 1999; Thomas A. Marks, Maoisf Insurgency 
since Vietnam, London, UK: Frank Cass, 1996; and David E. Spencer, 
"Reexamining the Relevance of Maoist Principles to Post-Modern 
Insurgency and Terrorism," unpublished manuscript, n.d. Also 


see General Vo Nguyen Giap, People's War People's Army: The 
Viet Cong Insurrection Manual for Underdeveloped Countries, New 
York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962, pp. 34-37; Abraham Guillen, 
"Philosophy of the Urban Guerrilla," Donald C. Hodges, trans, 
and ed., The Revolutionary Writings of Abraham Guillen, New York: 
William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1973; Qiao Liang and Wang 
Xiangsui, Unrestricted Warfare, Beijing, China: PLA Literature 
and Arts Publishing House, 1999; and Jorge Verstrynge Rojas, La 
Guerra Periferica y el Islam Revolucionario: Origines, Reglas, y Etica de 
la Guerra Asimetrica, Special Edition for the Army of the Bolivarian 
Republic of Venezuela, IDRFAN, Enlace Circular Militar, Madrid, 
Spain: El Viejo Popo, May 2005. 

8. Ibid., pp. 3-11; and "What Is To Be Done?" pp. 12-19, 112- 
114; and "Socialism and War," pp. 194-195. Also see "The State 
and Revolution," p. 324; "The Proletarian Revolution and the 
Renegade Kautsky," p. 467; "A Great Beginning," p. 478; and 
"The Dictatorship of the Proletariat," pp. 489-496, in Anthology. 

9. Ibid.; and Vladimir Torres, The Impact of "Populism " on Social, 
Political, and Economic Development in the Hemisphere, Ottawa, 
Canada: Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL), July 
2006, pp. 1-18, available at 

10. Lenin, "The Tasks of the Youth Leagues," Anthology, p. 

11. Ibid. 

12. Lenin, "The Tasks of the Russian Social Democrats," 
Anthology, pp. 3-12. 

13. Ian Beckett, "The Future of Insurgency," Small Wars & 
Insurgencies, March 2005, pp. 22-36. 

14. President Chavez used this language in a charge to the 
National Armed Forces (FAN) to develop a doctrine for 4th 
Generation Warfare. It was made before an audience gathered 
in the Military Academy auditorium for the "1st Military Forum 
on Fourth Generation War and Asymmetric War," in Caracas, 
Venezuela, and was reported in El Universal, April 8, 2005. Also, 
in January 2005, General Melvin Lopez Hidalgo, Secretary of 


the Venezuelan Defense Council, stated publicly that Venezuela 
was changing its security doctrine in order to better confront "la 
amenaza permanente de los Estados Unidos," (the permanent 
threat of the United States) and that a document entitled Pueblo 
en Armas (The People in Arms) had been published that confirmed 
the primary military principles of the President. Reported in 
Panorama, April 27, 2005. 

15. "War of all the people," is a direct English translation 
of Chavez's words— "guerra de todo el pueblo." A more 
common translation from post-World War II national liberation 
movements is "People's War." Thus, we use interchangeably — 
as does Chavez — 4th Generation War, Asymmetric War, Super 
Insurgency, People's War, and War of All the People. 

16. "Special Report: Hugo Chavez's Venezuela," The Economist, 
May 14-20, 2005, pp. 23-24; "The Chavez Machine Rolls On," The 
Economist, December 2, 2006, pp. 41-42; "Chavez Victorious," The 
Economist, December 9, 2006; Michael Shifter, "In Search of Hugo 
Chavez," Foreign Affairs, May/June 2006, p. 46; Michael Shifter, 
"Hugo Chavez: A Test for U.S. Policy," Washington, DC: Inter- 
American Dialogue, March 2007. 

17. Ibid. 

18. Ibid. Also see Steve Elmer, "Revolutionary and Non- 
Revolutionary Paths of Radical Populism: Directions of the 
Chavez Movement in Venezuela," Science and Society, April 2005, 
pp. 160-190; Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), "New 
Regional Voice," April 22, 2005; FBIS, "Expanded Telesur News 
Coverage Furthers Anti-US Line," December 22, 2005; and FBIS, 
"Perspective Audience," August 5, 2006. 

19. Endnote #14 above; and Norberto Ceresole, Caudillo, 
Ejercito, Pueblo, Caracas: Analitica Editora, 1999. 

20. Endnote #14 above. 

21. Neo-populism is defined as anti-system, and populism is 
defined as anti-democracy. See Torres. 


22. Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, USMC (Ret.), The Sling and 
the Stone: On War in the 21st Century, New York: Zenith Press, 

2006, pp. 207-215; Giap, pp. 34-37; and statements made by 
President Hugo Chavez and General Melvin Lopez Hidalgo, cited 
in Endnote #14 above. 

23. Evidence of President Chavez's expanding horizons may be 
seen in a number of different activities. For example, see Fernando 
Baez, "On the Road with Bush and Chavez," The New York Times, 
March 11, 2007,; 
"Iran, Venezuela to Set Up HQ for Joint Cooperation," www.; Steven Dudley, "Chavez in Search of Leverage," 
The Miami Herald, April 28, 2007, p. 9A; Christopher Toothaker, 
"Venezuela Weapons Worry US, Colombia," May 17, 2008, 
chavez_interpol&pre...; and Simon Romero, "Venezuela," The New 
York Times, February 24, 2007, 
americas/14latin.html? ; also see Max G. Manwaring, Latin America's 
New Security Reality: Irregular Asymmetric Conflict and Hugo Chavez, 
Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 

2007, pp. 32-36. 

24. Public address of General Briceno, July 18, 2007. 

25. Ibid.; and Endnote #13 above. 

26. Ibid; and for similar rhetoric, see Radio Nacional de Venezuela, 
September 27-28, 2005; El Universal, April 8, 2005; "Special Report 
on Hugo Chavez's Venezuela," The Economist, May 14-20, 2005, 
p. 25; Carlos Gueron, "Introduction," Joseph S. Tulchin, ed., 
Venezuela in the Wake of Radical Reform, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner 
Publishers, 1993, pp. 1-3; Steven Elmer, "Revolutionary and 
Non-Revolutionary Paths of Radical Populism: Directions of the 
Chavez Movement in Venezuela," Science and Society, April 2005, 
pp. 160-190; and Ian James, "Chavez insta al mundo a rebelarse 
contra EEUU, Nuevo Herald (Miami, FL), January 30, 2006. 

27. Briceno. 

28. Endnote #22 above. Also, evidence of Venezuelan agitator 
activities may be seen in Oscar Castella and Nelly Luna, "Acusan 
de Terrorismo a 24 vinculados con chavismo," March 14, 2008, 


available at; Jose de Cordoba 
and Jay Solomon, "Chavez Aided Colombia Rebels, Captured 
Computer Files Show," Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2008, at online.; and 

Simon Romero, "Files Tying Venezuela to Rebels Not Altered, 
Report Says," The New York Times, May 16, 2008, at www.nytimes. 

29. These and subsequent assertions are consensus statements 
based on a series of author interviews with more than 400 senior 
U.S. and Latin American civilian and military officials. These 
interviews were conducted from October 1989 through July 1994; 
September 1996; December 1998; November 2000; February 2001; 
and March 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and April through July 2007. 
These interviews are cited hereafter as Author Interviews. 

30. Ibid. 

31. This argument is strengthened as a result of a recent 
Colombian incursion into the "sovereign" territory of Ecuador. 
See Simon Romero, "Crisis at Colombia Border Spills into 
Diplomatic Realm," New York Times, March 4, 2008; and Simon 
Romero and James C. McKinley Jr., "Crisis Over Colombian Raid 
Ends in Handshakes," New York Times, March 8, 2008, available at 
www. and 

32. Smith, p. 3. 

33. Author Interviews. 

34. Colombia's New Armed Groups, Bogota, Colombia/ Brussels, 
Belgium: International Crisis Group Latin America Report No. 
20, May 10, 2007, available at www Also see Diana 
Cariboni, "New Breed of Paramilitaries Infiltrate Urban'Refuges'," 
Inter-Press Service, June 27, 2006, available at 
com/s/oneworld/20060626; Mayer Nudell, "Ex-paramilitaries 
form crime gangs in Colombia," The Washington Post, July 31, 
AR2006073100508.html; Caleb Harris, "Paramilitaries Re-emerge 
in Pockets of Colombia," The Christian Science Monitor, March 
14, 2007, 
htm?cas=34; Joshua Goodman, "Report: New Criminal Gangs 


in Colombia," 
am_ca/colombia-criminal-gangs&pri; and Sibylla Brodzinsky, "Is 
Colombia's FARC On the Ropes? May 21, 2008, at news. yahoo. com/s/ 

35. Lenin, "The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats," 
Anthology, pp. 3-7; also see Chapter One, "Introduction," to this 

36. Author Interviews. Also see the discussion of the 
Rhizematic Command System in Smith, pp. 332-334. 

37. Author Interviews. Also, a good example of this kind of 
thinking and action is found in Anthony Vinci, "The Strategic Use 
of Fear by the Lord's Resistance Army," Small Wars & Insurgencies, 
December 2005, pp. 360-381. 

38. Douglas Porch, Uribe's Second Mandate, The War and the 
Implications for Civil-Military Relations in Colombia, Monterey, CA: 
Naval Post Graduate School, February 2006, p. 3, available at 
www.ccc.nps,; and "Colombia's New Armed Groups," p. 


39. Ibid. There are a number of additional citations that can 
be used here. They include Nudell, July 31, 2007; Cariboni, June 
27, 2006; Harris, March 14, 2007; "Colombia: NDI Analysis Finds 
Parties Lack Credibility, Stability," in FBIS LAP 2005/2004003, 
November 22, 2005; "Pacto con el diablo," Semana, February 18, 
2008; "The Truth about Triple-A," The National Security Archive, 
February 18, 2008; "Paramilitaries as Proxies," The National 
Security Archive, February 18, 2008; and "Unraveling the 
Paramilitary Web," The National Security Archive, February 18, 
2008, available at www.gwu,edu/nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB223/ 
index Mm. 

40. This is a pattern that is well known in northern Mexico. 
There, the drug cartels and hired gangs are collaborating to control 
specified routes for drugs and other illegal commerce moving into 
the United States. Also see Manwaring, A Contemporary Challenge 
to State Sovereignty. 

41. Cariboni, Forero, Harris, Goodman, McDermott, Nudell, 
and "Colombia's New Armed Groups." 


42. Ibid, 

43. Colombia's New Armed Groups, 2007. 

44. Ibid. 

45. Ibid.; and Author Interviews. Also see Ana Maria Bejarano 
and Eduardo Pizarro, "The Crisis of Democracy in Colombia: From 
'Restricted' Democracy to 'Besieged' Democracy," unpublished 
manuscript, 2001; and "Colombia: A Failing State?" ReVista: 
Harvard Review of Latin America, Spring 2003, pp. 1-6. 

46. Ibid. 

47. David C. Jordan, Drug Politics: Dirty Money and Democracies, 
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999, pp. 158-170, 193- 

48. Author Interviews; Annual Report 1999, Washington, DC: 
Inter-American Development Bank, 2000, p. 141; and data taken 
from Mauricio Rubio, "La justicia en una sociedad violenta," in 
Maria Victoria Llorente and Malcom Deas, Reconocer la Guerra para 
construir la paz, Bogota, Colombia: Ediciones Uniandes CERED 
Editorial Norma, 1999, p. 215. 

49. A recent example is that Colombia extradited Carlos 
Maria Jimenez, one of the country's most feared paramilitary 
leaders, to the United States on May 7, 2008, to face drug 
trafficking charges. See "Colombian warlord pleads not guilty 
to drug trafficking," available at 
pt/cpt?action=cpt&title=Colombian+warlord=plea..., May 12, 2008. 
Also see Frank Bajak, "Colombia extradites 14 jailed warlords to 
US," available at 
Colombia _paramilitaries_3&pri... 

50. Jordan, p. 161. 

51. Ibid.; and Author Interviews. 

52. Daniel C. Esty, Jack Goldstone, Ted Robert Gurr, Barbara 
Harff, and Pamela T. Surko, "The State Failure Project: Early 
Warning Research for U.S. Foreign Policy Planning," in John L. 


Davies and Ted Robert Gurr, eds., Preventive Measures: Building 
Risk Assessment and Crisis Early Warning Systems, New York: 
Rowman & Littlefield, 1998. 

53. Phil Williams, From the New Middle Ages to a New Dark Age: 
The Decline of the State and U.S. Strategy, Carlisle, PA: Strategic 
Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, June 2008; and John 
Rapley, "The New Middle Ages," Foreign Affairs, May/June 2006, 
pp. 93-103. 

54. Ibid. 

55. Ambassador Myles R. R. Frechette, In Search of the Endgame: 
A Long-Term Multilateral Strategy for Colombia, Coral Gables, FL: 
The Dante B. Fascell North-South Center at the University of 
Miami, February 2003. 

56. Ambassador Myles R. R. Frechette, "Colombia and the 
United States — The Partnership: But What Is the Endgame?" 
Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 

57. Author Interviews. 

58. Simon Romero, "Colombian Guerrilla Leader Reported 
Dead," The New York Times, May 25, 2008, available at www. _ 
r=l&th=&oref=sl... Also see Sibylla Brodzinsky, "Is Colombia's 
FARC on the Ropes?" 

59. Ibid. 

60. Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Samuel B. Griffith, trans., London, 
UK: Oxford University Press, [ca. 500 BC] [1782, 1910] 1971, p. 

61. Ibid. 

62. For primary source material on statements made by al- 
Qai'da, see Also see 
Raymond Ibrahim, The Al-Qai'da Reader, New York: Broadway 


Books, 2007; and Gustavo de Aristegui, La Yihad en Espana: La 
obsession por reconquistar Al-Andalus, Madrid, Spain: La Esfera de 
los Libros, S.L, 5th Edition, 2006. Also note Author Interviews. 

63. Marc Sageman, Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the 21st 
Century, Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 

64. Ibid. Also see Smith, pp. 332-334; Author Interviews. 

65. Ibid. Also, "compelling one to accede to one's will" is a 
classic definition of war. See Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Michael 
Howard and Peter Paret, trans, and eds., Princeton, NJ: Princeton 
University Press, [1832] 1976, p. 75. 

66. Fishel; and Author Interviews. 

67. Lenin, "The Revolutionary Party and Its Tactics," 
Anthology, p. 8. 

68. It should be noted here that al-Qai'da doctrine and 
strategy, as it might be applied by diverse Islamic groups, is not 
well-understood, and there are many analysts that are not in 
agreement on what the organization is, what the war-fighting 
doctrine might be, or what any kind of response ought to be. 

69. Lenin, "The Revolutionary Party and Its Tactics," 
Anthology, p. 8; and Author Interviews. Also see Walter Laqueur, 
"Postmodern Terrorism," Foreign Affairs, September/ October 
1996, pp. 24-36; Qiao and Wang; Frank Kitson, Warfare as a Whole, 
London, UK: Faber and Faber, 1987; and Max G. Manwaring and 
John T. Fishel, "Insurgency and Counterinsurgency: Toward a 
New Analytical Approach," Small Wars & Insurgencies, Winter, 
1992, pp. 272-310. Hereafter cited as SWORD Papers. 

70. Daniel C. Esty, Jack Goldstone, Ted Robert Gurr, Barbara 
Harff, Pamela T. Surko, Alan N. Unger, and Robert S. Chen, "The 
State Failure Project: Early Warning Research for U.S. Foreign 
Policy Planning," in John L. Davies and Ted Robert Gurr, eds., 
Preventive Measures: Building Risk Assessment and Crisis Early 
Warning Systems, New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998, pp. 27- 
38; Thomas F. Homer-Dixon, "On the Threshold: Environmental 


Changes as Causes of Acute Conflict," International Security, Fall 
1991, pp. 76-116; and Thomas F. Homer-Dixon, Environment, 
Scarcity, and Violence, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 
1999, pp. 133-168. Also see Qiao and Wang; and SWORD Papers. 

71. Robert M. Cassidy, "Feeding Bread to Luddites: The 
Radical Fundamentalist Islamic Revolution in Guerrilla Warfare," 
Small Wars & Insurgencies, December 2005, p. 348; Peter L. Bergen, 
Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden, New York: 
Free Press, 2001; Paul Rich, "Al-Qai'da and the Radical Islamic 
Challenge to Western Strategy," Small Wars & Insurgencies, Spring 
2003, pp. 45-46; and Thomas A. Marks, "Ideology of Insurgency: 
New Ethnic Focus or Old Cold War Distortions," Small Wars 
& Insurgencies, Spring 2004, pp. 122-125. Also see Author 

72. Ibid.; and Rohan Gunaretna, Inside the al-Qai'da Global 
Network of Terror, London, UK: Hurst, 2002, p. 89. 

73. Rich, p. 47. 

74. This document is entitled "Pledge of Death in God's Path." 
For primary source material on statements made by al-Qai'da, 
see Endnote #62 above. Also see Stephen Ulph, "Mujahideen 
Pledge Allegiance on the Web," Washington, DC: The Jamestown 
Foundation, November 29, 2005. 

75. Lenin, "Report on War and Peace," and "Symptoms of a 
Revolutionary Situation," Anthology, pp. 545, 275-276, respectively. 
Also see Mao Tse-Tung, Samuel B. Griffith II, trans., On Guerrilla 
Warfare, Champaign: University of Illinois Press [1937] [1961], 

76. Fishel, pp. 121. Also see Peter Bergen, "The Dense Web 
of al-Qai'da," Washington Post, December 25, 2003, A29. Bergen 
describes al-Qai'da and its supporters as a structure of concentric 
rings in which different kinds of operations may be conducted 
vertically and horizontally by different parts of different rings. 

77. Michael Scheuer, "Al-Qai'da's New Generation: 
Less Visible and More Lethal," Washington, DC: Jamestown 
Foundation, October 3, 2005; Hammes, The Sling and the Stone, p. 


78. Ibid.; also see Gunaretna, 2002, p. 54. 

79. Ibid.; also see Cassidy, pp. 338-349; Fishel, pp. 121-125; 
Hammes, The Sling and the Stone, p. 350; and Chris Heffelfinger, 
"Al-Qai'da's Evolving Strategy Five Years after September 11," 
Washington, DC: Jamestown Foundation, September 12, 2006. 

80. Scheuer, "Al-Qai'da's New Generation." 

81. Ibid.; also see Michael Moss and Souad Mekhennet, "Rising 
Leader for Next Phase of Al-Qai'da's War," The New York Times, 
April 4, 2008, 

82. Ibid.; also see Michael Scheuer, "Is Global Jihad a Fading 
Phenomenon?" Washington, DC: Jamestown Foundation, April 1, 

83. Author Interviews. 

84. See Endnote #62 above regarding primary source material; 
and Michael Scheuer, "Taking Stock of the Zionist-Crusader War," 
Washington, DC: Jamestown Foundation, April 25, 2006. 

85. Walter Laquerer, "Post Modern Terrorism," Foreign Affairs, 
September/ October 1996, pp. 24-25. 

86. Ibid.; and Michael Scheuer, "Al-Qai'da Insurgency 
Doctrine: Aiming for a Long War," Washington, DC: Jamestown 
Foundation, February 28, 2006. 

87. Ibid. 

88. Ibid.; and Michael Scheuer, "Al-Zawahiri's September 11 
Video Hits Main Themes of Al-Qai'da Doctrine," Washington, 
DC: Jamestown Foundation, September 19, 2006. Note: Ayman 
al-Zawahiri is the Deputy Chief of al-Qai'da. 

89. See Endnote #62 above. 


90. Haahr, 2007; and Javier Jordan and Nicola Horsburg, 
"Mapping Jihadist Terrorism in Spain," Studies in Conflict and 
Terrorism, Vol. 28, 2005, pp. 174-179. 

91. A copy of the proceedings and charges against the 29 
accused can be found at: 
autollM/elp ais_auto.html? sump agl. See also 

92. Ibid. Also see Victoria Burnett, "Spain Arrests 16 North 
Africans Accused of Recruiting Militants," The New York Times, 
May 29, 2007 at 

93. Author Interviews. Also see "The Madrid Train Bombings," 
in Lorenzo Vidino, ATQai'da in Europe, Amherst, NY: Prometheus 
Books, 2006, pp. 291-335. 

94. For details regarding first- second- and third-generation 
gangs in the Americas, see Max G. Manwaring, Street Gangs: The 
New Urban Insurgency, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 
U.S. Army War College, March 2005. 

95. See Endnotes #91, 92, and 93 above. 

96. Ibid. 

97. Investigations in the United Kingdom regarding the 
bombings in London in 2005 yielded the information that there 
was a close relationship between that attack and the one in 
Madrid, Spain, a year earlier and, in particular, that al-Qai'da 
had been more involved in the Madrid bombings than had 
been originally reported by Spanish authorities. See House of 
Commons, "Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in 
London on 7th July 2005," May 2006, 
hc0506/hcl0/1087/1087.asp.59. Also see Ludo Block, "Developing 
a New Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Europe," Washington, 
DC: Jamestown Foundation, November 21, 2006; and "From 
Afghanistan to Iraq through Europe," in Vidino, 2006, pp. 233- 
262. The Dutch have also looked carefully into Jihadi activities in 
Europe. See Edwin Baker, Jihadi Terrorists in Europe, Den Haag: 
Netherlands Institute of International Relations, December 2006; 


and Violent Jihad in the Netherlands: Current Trends in the Islamist 
Terrorist Threat, Den Haag: Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom 
Relations, n.d. 

98. Ibid.; also see "GSPC in Italy: The Forward Base of Jihad 
in Europe," Washington, DC: Jamestown Foundation, February 9, 

99. "Britain's Nation Security Plans to Be Overhauled," The 
International Herald Tribune, March 19, 2008, at 
printfriendly.php?id=11235552; "Terror Trial Exposes Network of 
Terror Camps in Picturesque Rural England," The International 
Herald Tribune, February 27, 2008, at 
php?id=10450455; "Intelligence Chief Says 'Several Hundred' 
Extremists Living in Germany," The International Herald Tribune, 
March 24, 2008, at 
EU-GEN-Germany-Terror-Threat.php; and "German Intelligence 
Describes a 'New Quality' in Jihadi Threats," Washington, DC: 
Jamestown Foundation, February 20, 2008; Javier Jordan and 
Robert Wesley, "After 3/11: The Evolution of Jihadist Networks 
in Spain," Washington, DC: Jamestown Foundation, January 
12, 2006; "Terrorist Threat to UK-MI5 Chief's Full Speech," 
Times Online, November 11, 2006; and James Brandon, "The 
Pakistan Connection to the United Kingdom's Jihad Network," 
Washington, DC: The Jamestown Foundation, February 22, 2008. 

100. Aristigui, 2006, pp. 85; 131-132; 136-142; and 187; and 
Author Interviews. 

101. See "Terrorism: Al-Qai'da Leader Threatens France and 
Spain," Adnkronos, September 22, 2008 at 

102. Author Interviews. Also see Jordan and Wesley; Burnett; 
and "Catalonia: Europe's New Center of Global Jihad," Washing- 
ton, DC: Jamestown Foundation, June 7, 2007. 

103. Author Interviews. 

104. Ibid; and Steve Kingstone, "Spain's radical plan for 
migrants," BBC News, September 3, 2008, at 
mpapps/pagetools/prin t/ co. uk/2/hi/europe/7568887.stm . 


105. "MI5 Chief's Full Speech." 

106. "Britain's National Security Plans to Be Overhauled." 

107. Aristigui; and Author Interviews. 

108. Jane Barrett, "Court Finds 21 Guilty of Madrid Train 
Bombings," Reuters, May 27, 2008, at 
t?ArticleId=USL308491320071031. Also see Jordan and Horsburg, 
pp. 174-179. 

109. Ibid.; and Author Interviews. 

110. Michael Scheuer, "Al-Qai'da Doctrine for International 
Political Warfare," Washington, DC: Jamestown Foundation, 
November 1, 2006; Michael Scheuer, "Al-Qai'da Insurgency 
Doctrine: Aiming for a Long War"; and "German Intelligence 
Describes a 'New Quality' in Jihadi Threats," Washington, DC: 
Jamestown Foundation, February 20, 2008. 

111. Author Interviews. 

112. Ibid.; also see Scheuer, "Al-Qai'da Doctrine for 
International Political Warfare." 

113. Craig Whitlock, "Al-Qai'da Masters Terrorism on 
the Cheap," Washington Post, September 2, 2008, at www. 

114. Fishel, pp. 115-128. 

115. Clausewitz, p. 596. 

116. Gunaretna, pp. 54, 89; Bergen, Holy War. 

117. Giandominico Picco, "The Challenge of Strategic 
Terrorism," Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 17, 2005, p. 13. 

118. Ibid. 


119. For early discussions of these phenomena, see Samuel 
Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World 
Order, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996; and Robert D. Kaplan, 
The Coming Anarchy, New York: Random House, 2000. Also see 
David Easton, A Framework for Political Analysis, Englewood 
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall 1965. Note: David Easton formulated and 
elaborated the concept of "authoritative allocation of values" as 
the accepted definition of politics. 

120. Lenin, "Report on War and Peace," Anthology, p. 549. 

121. Hammes, The Sling and the Stone, pp. 207-215. Also see 
Qiao and Wang, 1999, p. 108. 

122. Stephen D. Krasner and Carlos Pascual, "Addressing 
State Failure," Foreign Affairs, July/ August, 2005, p. 153. 

123. Ibid., pp. 153-154. 

124. Ibid., pp. 154-163. 

125. Ibid., pp. 160-163. 

126. These reports are authored by Clark A. Murdock, Michele 
A. Flournoy, Christine E. Wormuth, Christopher A. Williams, 
Kurt M. Campbell, Patrick T. Henry, Pierre A. Chao, Julianne 
Smith, and Anne A. Witkowsky, entitled "Beyond Goldwater- 
Nichols: Defense Reform for a New Strategic Era," Washington, 
DC: Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), March 2004, 
July 2005, and July 2006, available at www. 

127. See James R. Locher III, Victory on the Potomac: The 
Goldwater-Nichols Act Unifies the Pentagon, College Station: Texas 
A&M University Press, 2002. The website is restricted, 
but information may be obtained by writing to the Project 
on National Security Reform, The Center for the Study of the 
Presidency, 1020 19th St. NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20036. 

128. See "TF Irregular Challenge CSA, Outbrief," Carlisle, PA: 
Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, June 28, 2005; 
and "TF Irregular Challenge DAS, Decision Brief on Interagency 


Cadre Initiative," Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. 
Army War College, November 27, 2006. 

129. Ibid. Also see Hammes, The Sling and the Stone, pp. 282- 

130. Krasner and Pascual, p. 163.